Today I wanted to share with you a new concept I recently learned — that is, that the foot has a “core” group of muscles, just like our body overall has a core.
And, just like you can increase the stability of your trunk by working the regular core, you can actually increase the stability of your foot and ankle– and everything else above it– by working the foot core.
I’ve been having some ankle pain stemming from a hypermobile talus bone, ever since I broke one of my toes last winter. (It was a very mild fracture and didn’t even require a brace, but it made me walk differently, which then affected other parts of my foot).
My new doctor, who specializes in hypermobility, recommended these exercises for me. They are from Kester Cotton, a physical therapist who co-leads the Dance Medicine program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. (Sharing them here with his permission– thank you, Kester!).
I’ve been doing the exercises in this first video for about two months now and have noticed a huge improvement in strength, and reduction in hypermobility:
These exercises target a specific group of muscles that stabilize the foot called the intrinsics.
Like so many structures of the body, in turns out that there are a lot more systems at play– and ways you can maximize your function– than the medical profession perhaps used to think.
In fact, I learned in several of my anatomy and kinesiology classes that there isn’t much you can do to change the structure of your foot.
However, as a hypermobile person especially, I feel that I can definitely attest to the huge benefit I’ve felt from doing the exercises in the video above! So, I think there are really layers of knowledge, in terms of what we are discovering about the body– and so many things you can do to optimize a “passive” structure like the foot.
As my feet continue to stabilize, I plan to then progress to the exercises in this next video:
Right now it’s still a bit too hard on my hypermobile talus to point the feet in such a pronounced way, but at the rate I’ve been improving, I’m pretty sure I’ll get there.
This is the third video in this series which my doctor also wanted me to start doing:
Frankly I haven’t bought the massage tools yet but I wanted to be sure to share this here with you, so you get the complete set!
I have so much more to say on the different hypermobility tips and tricks I’ve been learning. Even if you aren’t hypermobile, I think you’ll still get a lot out of these posts, because hypermobile people really have to develop a deep level of knowledge about the body.
Update: A reader asked if I’d also seen an increase in pelvic stability since beginning these.
My answer is yes, although thankfully my pelvis was already more stable than my ankles by the time I started doing these! But yes I definitely notice a feeling of better coordination and control while doing these.