Centerworks Blog

Latest "Foot Care & Foot Fitness" Posts

Gain Ankle Strength and Heel Mobility for Better Balance

Medial / Lateral Ankle Strength &
Multi-Directional Foot Mobility

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance & Body Control

Stretching the calf and soleus muscles are important for your lower leg and ankle flexibility, but just doing a plain old calf stretch probably isn’t going to dramatically improve balance because it is not the flexion and extension of the ankle that needs improvement as much as the lateral side-to-side strength and support. 

What can you do to improve balance?

One of the best ways to improve your balance is to challenge the body with exercises that have you standing on one leg.  But if your feet and ankles don’t have the right amount of strength, flexibility and mobility to keep you upright, chances are simple exercises balancing on one leg may seem darn near impossible unless you’re holding onto something!  (And holding onto something for support has you using your Arms to balance more than your feet, ankles and legs.)

There are thousands of opportunities throughout the day where we have a moment to practice standing on one leg and balance.  Can you guess where your top two opportunities to practice balancing on one leg are?

  1.  Walking
  2. Climbing Stairs

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Running, Walking.

How your Toes and Leg Alignment Affects the Feet for Healthy Heels

How Are You Working: Legs turned Toe-Out, Parallel, or Pigeon?

 This article is Part 2 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance & Body Control

feet-imageLittle, seemingly insignificant posture habits can set you up for problems, pain and injury.  And what is interesting is the fact that your heels and ankles might not be the weak link that is setting you up for a potential problem.  What do I mean by this?

Part of paying attention to leg alignment is knowing what is happening at the feet.  A toe-in, parallel or toe-out stance or gait pattern can dramatically change how the feet and ankles work and affect the stress placed on your knees and lower back. As a result of your everyday foot fitness habits, the muscles that are strong or weak in your feet and lower legs can be your own unique posture challenge.

But half of what you need to pay attention to might be the direction of the feet and the other half is what’s happening at the hip.

Posted by Aliesa George in Flexibility & Stretching, Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Running, Walking.

Improve Ankle Mobility for Better Balance

Use the Standing Agitator Exercise to Free Up Your Feet, Ankles and Heels

Heels and ankles need to be limber and move freely so that they can help us balance on uneven surfaces.  Check to see if you have strong, flexible heels and ankles with this quick and easy ankle mobility exercise.

Test your balance by standing on one foot.  Do you have a little “play” in your foot and ankle to keep you on balance, or is your ankle stuck/frozen?  With good movement through the heel and practicing that agitator exercise in the long run it’s going to help with better balance and healthy mobility for your feet.

The Agitator Exercise

After doing the Agitator Exercise are you more aware of the movement at your ankles and heels?  When you started, did you feel “stuck?”  If it is hard for you to tell, get with a friend and have them stand behind you while you are “agitating” or twisting, to watch your ankles and heels for movement.  Ideally, you want to see (and feel) your feet shifting from the inside of one foot to the outside of the other, and switching sides as you change directions.

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Super Ankles Foot-Fit Board BundleFor more exercises and tools to improve both ankle strength, and ankle mobility, use a Super Ankles Foot-Fit Board.  This is one of the best foot care products available to help keep ensure injury-free ankles.

If you run, walk or play sports this helpful foot care product can help you with ankle strengthening exercises to avoid ankle sprains. If you are recovering from an ankle injury, the Super Ankles Foot Fit Board can be utilized for ankle sprain rehabilitation exercises.  (Check with your doctor to be sure you’ve healed and it’s appropriate to begin an ankle rehab program.)

The Super Ankles Foot-Fit Board Bundle comes with an exercise booklet, the Super Ankle Exercise Board, and a How-To DVD with an 8-minute Super Ankle Board Workout.

 Reinforce better balance, and help keep your feet strong, fit and flexible
with the
Super-Ankle Foot Fit Board exercises!

Posted by Aliesa George in Flexibility & Stretching, Foot Care & Foot Fitness.

Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance

Part One – A Simple Ankle Exercise and Foot Fitness Test
for Alignment, Balance  Body Control      

Hiking - HeelsThis article is Part 1 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance and Body Control.

A really important task that our feet provide for us is balance.  Our toes individually grab and release the ground for stability, the ankle allows us to shift our weight without toppling over, and the foot (between the ankle and the toes) can be strong and rigid or pliable to adapt to different terrain.

The foot is almost shaped like a triangle, wider for more support across the forefoot and the toes and supported in the back at the heel.  Instead of thinking about the heel as a single point, (like one leg on a three-legged stool) the ankle and heel allow for mobility of the foot which means you can be centered on the heel, stand more towards the outer heel or bear more weight towards the inner heel.  This medial / lateral heel mobility is critical for balance and keeps us from straining or spraining an ankle when walking or running on uneven ground.

The key concept here is medial / lateral heel mobility. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Running, Walking.

Measure Your Feet Day: Check In with Your Feet and Check Up on Your Shoe Size

Daddy's shoesAre You Measuring Up?

January 23rd is Measure Your Feet Day: It’s Time to Check In with Your Feet and Check Up on Your Shoe Size.

Remember when you were a kid and your mom put you up against the wall or door-frame and measured how tall you were?

Wasn’t it fun to check the date and see how you’d changed?

Well as an adult, it’s still good for us to check our height, but it’s probably even more important that we periodically re-check our shoe size.

When was the last time you measured your feet? 

January 23rd is officially Measure Your Feet Day!  How some of these wild and wacky days to celebrate end up on the calendar I’ll never know, but this is a great day to help  raise awareness about the importance of paying closer attention to your feet in order to keep you healthy, happy, and pain-free.  Here are some tips to help you measure your feet and toes to ensure you’re in the right sized shoes.

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Foot Care & Foot Fitness.

The Best Shoes to Wear When Teaching Pilates

Ellen asked me a great question about what shoes I recommend wearing when teaching Pilates.  Of course our clients exercise in bare feet or socks, but what should a Pilates teacher wear on their feet?

Ellen’s Question: 

I do get on the reformer to demonstrate during client sessions – is there anything that is easy on/off?  I truly would value your opinion on this! 

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Fantastic Feet for Runners & Walkers

 

A Workshop for Focused Foot Fitness Training

Discover the Secrets to Healthy & Happy, Pain-Free Feet  
(No Pilates experience required.)

Good health starts from the ground up!  Whether you walk or run, taking good care of your feet is an important part of any wellness program.

There are lots of quick & easy foot care exercises you can incorporate into your workouts  to help improve your posture, body alignment and muscle support for healthy, happy, injury-free ankles, arches, and toes.

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Running, Walking, Workshops.

Foot Care Q&A: Leg Alignment & Fixing Pronated Feet

I received some great foot care questions from Matt  about  leg alignment, toe out walking, and orthotics!  And  he’s not the only one out there challenged with these problems…

Foot Care Questions:

“I apparently pronate and have had custom orthotics for decades.  I hate them and am trying to wean off by way of store-bought supports which are less expensive.

No matter what I use, however, my feet toe out and I often click my heels as I walk (and ruin my pants!)

My question is, if my shoes wear unevenly and my heels are crooked, what good will holding my foot in place do if the shoe underneath it is at an odd angle?  And what can I do about it?

I absolutely love these foot care questions!  Because Matt’s becoming a critical thinker and really starting to notice more about his leg alignment, feet and ankles, and the results of poor functional movement habits.  There are thing he wants to fix, but investing in expensive orthotics doesn’t seem logical because he’s worn them for years and still has problems.  Matt’s observations are correct, orthotics aren’t entirely the solution because they don’t correct the toe-out gait pattern.  So what else can be done to keep from clicking the heels and walking like a duck?  Lots, actually…

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Functional Movement.

Heel Exercise with a Strap for Better Leg Stretching Benefits!

Do you ever have heel pain? Do you feel like your ankles like to roll out to the sides?  Or has anybody ever told you that you pronate your feet when you walk or run?

 This Heel Exercise with a Strap is a nice exercise to get the mobility that you need for your heel and ankles to keep them healthy, safe and pain-free! 

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Videos.

Foot Fitness Is Important To Help Maintain A Healthy Body & Optimal Structural Support

 A building will topple to the ground if the foundation for its structure isn’t sound and stacked correctly, one brick on top of the next.  We increase our risk of injury and unnecessary wear-and-tear on our system if our human structure is out of whack.

The Foundation of our Structure is the Feet:

To maintain and improve our structural foundation, proper foot care, and foot fitness is a MUST!  Good health starts from the ground up.

Just like the foundation for a house, or high-rise office building, the basement has to be build right.  It doesn’t take much, but a little attention to the 52 bones in your feet, and supporting muscles can go a long way towards improving the balance of everything from the ground up!  It might be possible to trace almost every issue, pain, or problem that we experience back to our feet…

How often to you take the time to exercise your feet?
Not just stand, walk, or run on them, but actually “exercise” them?

3 Tips To Improve Foot Fitness, Structural Support,
Posture, & Whole-Body Health

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness.