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.
6 thoughts on “Working the “foot core””
Thank you for this!! Everything you do here each one gives us more hope for ourselves!
Thank you so much for the kind words, Laura! Glad the post spoke to you!
Yes ma’am, my foot was broken in three places but never hurt bad enough for to want to miss work for a surgery. I was wrong fast forward 6 years later now my foot is fixed but I now deal with a hypermobile hip bad Si joint and two bulging disc in my lower lumbar and l4 & l5 and a pelvis that gets caught in up slips now my back is better now we’ll I got good days and bad ones but it is taking for ever to deal with the up slip and the hip labral tear which is get a lot better thanks to swimming but the Si joint is the killer it never lets you for get. You got foot problems fix it fast or it will add up quickly.
So true, Randall, you make some great points. I’m glad your foot is at least doing better, and that the swimming seems to be helping. Wishing you the best of luck for your continued healing!
Is it normal to feel soreness in your feet and calves after doing these exercises 🤣🤣🤣
Lol! So of course my disclaimer here that all of the exercises I share are meant to be done under medical supervision.
But with that being said… it is absolutely normal! I could barely do the first exercise for more than 15 seconds when I started. That’s because we almost never target these muscles in isolation.
But over time you can absolutely build up!
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