Fixing Foot and Ankle Dysfunctions
In a recent post we discussed assessing, identifying and fixing distortions of the foot and ankle (click here to read). This post will outline a sample corrective exercise program to improve ankle mobility and over pronation/flat feet. We will discuss both specific deactivation/lengthening techniques, activation/strengthening techniques and integration techniques.
Acute Variables to Consider
Foam rolling should be performed for (2) minutes per site, stopping on aggravated trigger points for 30-45 sec or to tolerance.
Stretching is most effective when held for (20-60) seconds and 2-3 sets of each stretch should be sufficient.
Activation/Strengthening exercises should be done using the following format:
- 3-5 sets (progressing with endurance)
- 10-15 reps
- 20-30 sec. rest between sets
- Slow temp 2/2/4 (Active Contraction/Pause @ Max Contraction/Slow Contraction Release)
- Intensity should be done at an intensity that makes it challenging to achieve 15 reps, but appropriate so that at least 10 reps are being performed
Integration exercises should only be done once there has been noticeable improvement with strengthening and deactivation, which should be around 4 weeks into program for most.
Even though these programs are done at a relatively low intensity, over doing it could lead to counter productive overuse injuries and inflammation. Would recommend only doing these programs 2-3 times a week. Note that test programs are not exclusive to your regular workout, they are just included in it. You can still work on better form and be more aware of foot positioning at all times which should help neural motor re-learning and correct the body’s altered proprioception of the foot position.
There is no hard timeline that can be placed on corrective programs. There are many factors such as:
Quality of SMR, Stretches and Corrective Exercises – It’s much more about quality than quantity.
Adjustments to Your Everyday Life – These imbalances did not occur over night. Fix your foot wear and be more aware of your foot position when exercising or even just standing and walking.
Severity – Obviously, the more severe the postural distortion, the longer it will take to see tangible improvement.
Fixing Over Pronation/Flat Feet Program
Foam Roll (SMR) and Stretch:
- IT-band/Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) – SMR
- Hamstring – SMR & 90 Degree Leg Hamstring Stretch
- Adductor Complex – SMR & Adductor Stretch
- Gastrocnemius – SMR & Standing Straight Leg Calf Stretch
- Soleus – SMR & Standing Bent Leg Calf Stretch
- Peroneals – SMR
Posterior Tibialis – Banded Inversion of the Foot
Anterior Tibialis – Banded Toe Pulls
Gluteus Medius – Banded Side Steps
Gluteus Maximus – One Leg Hip Bridges
Single Leg Squats – Pistol squats are too advanced for most, this box variation should be attainable for most.
Fixing Poor Ankle Mobility Program
Foam Roll (SMR) and Stretch:
Soleus – SMR, Bent Knee Standing Calf Stretch & Pike Stretch
Gastrocnemius – SMR, Straight Leg Standing Calf Stretch & Pike Stretch
Tibialis Anterior – Banded Toe Pulls (band should be placed around metatarsals not toes)
Full Depth Squats
Shallow Step Lunges – Choosing the shallow gait lunge helps create a greater amount of dorsiflexion at the ankle