October’s Foot Health Workshop Series
This 4-part series on Foot Health is currently running at Maties Gym, Stellenbosch, for Fitness Trainers. It has also been condensed into a workshops which recently took place at Moving Arts Pilates, Pinelands.
A brief introduction to the workshops series is below:
The foot is basically the end of the leg on which a person normally stands and walks. It is a fascinating end point, or rather, starting point. This complex anatomic structure is made up of 26 bones and 33 joints that must work together with 19 muscles and 107 ligaments to execute highly precise movements. At the same time the foot must be strong to support the vast amount of pressure when weight bearing. Because the foot and ankle are the foundation for the overall posture of the skeletal body, abnormal foot mechanics cause stresses that can lead to numerous foot problems as well as leg, knee, hip and lower back pain. Even small changes in the foot can unexpectedly undermine its structural integrity and cause pain with every step.
Whereas our feet are designed for a range of movement covering all sorts of terrain, most people spend their lives in shoes walking predominantly on flat surfaces. This has lead to the modern day human with underdeveloped feet. The strength in the foot muscles are therefore weakened due to lack of use, creating a compromised base on which to support the body weight when standing, walking, running or performing any other lower-extremities weight-bearing activates. This causes issues further up in the ankle joints, calf muscles, knee and hip joints as well as the spine.
The rest of the body will soon start to over-compensate for this lack of strength, stability, flexibility and mobility in the region of the feet. Over time this over-compensation will lead to alignment issues, postural discrepancies, pain and injuries. The body can be assisted back into homeostasis with more focus placed on the feet and the balance from this weight-bearing base.
Among other topics, foot health addresses:
- Common foot problems
- Weight-bearing activities
- Posture alignment
- Awareness and ability of mid-foot balance in stabilising
- Co-ordination of weight transferring and maintaining balance in motion
- Kinesiology and biomechanics in weight-bearing of lower extremities
- Proprioception and the vestibular system
- Fine and gross motor skills in the lower extremities
- Myofascial release and the understanding of fascial connections from the base up
- Movement patterning involving the lower extremities
- Foot and ankle strengthening, stabilising, mobilising and stretching