Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain is plantar fasciitis, this can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to advise your clients who have issues with their feet to see a podiatrist first to determine if stretching is right for them.
Did you know? …
Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, all of which work together to provide support, balance and mobility.
Nearly one-fourth of the body’s bones are in our feet. The bones of the feet are:
- Talus – the bone on top of the foot that forms a joint with the two bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula.
- Calcaneus – the largest bone of the foot, which lies beneath the talus to form the heel bone.
- Tarsals – five irregularly shaped bones of the midfoot that form the foot’s arch. The tarsal bones are the cuboid, navicular and medial, intermediate and lateral cuneiforms.
- Metatarsals – five bones (labelled one through five, starting with the big toe) that make up the forefoot.
- Phalanges (singular: phalanx) – the 14 bones that make up the toes. The big toe consists of two phalanges – the distal and proximal. The other toes have three.
- Sesamoids – two small, pea-shaped bones that lie beneath the head of the first metatarsal in the ball of the foot.
Joints in the feet are formed wherever two or more of these bones meet. Except for the big toe, each of the toes has three joints, which include:
- Metatarsophalangeal joint (MCP) – the joint at the base of the toe
- Proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) – the joint in the middle of the toe
- Distal phalangeal joint (DP) – the joint closest to the tip of the toe.
Each big toe has two joints:
- Metatarsophalangeal joint
- Interphalangeal joint
The surfaces of the bones where they meet to form joints are covered with a layer of cartilage, which allows them to glide smoothly against one another as they move. The joints are enclosed by a fibrous capsule that is lined with a thin membrane called the synovium, which secretes a fluid to lubricate the joints.
Twenty muscles give the foot its shape, support and the ability to move. The main muscles of the foot include the:
- Tibilias posterior, which supports the foot’s arch
- Tibilias anterior, which allows the foot to move upward
- Tibilias peroneal, which controls movement on the outside of the ankle
- Extensors, which help raise the toes, making it possible to take a step
- Flexors, which help stabilize the toes.
Tendons and Ligaments
Many tendons attach these muscles to the bones and ligaments that hold the bones together to maintain the foot’s arch.
The main tendon of the foot is the Achilles tendon, which runs from the calf muscle to the heel. The Achilles tendon makes it possible to run, jump, climb stairs and stand on your toes.
The main ligaments of the foot are:
- Plantar fascia – the longest ligament of the foot. The ligament, which runs along the sole of the foot, from the heel to the toes, forms the arch. By stretching and contracting, the plantar fascia helps us balance and gives the foot strength for walking.
- Plantar calcaneonavicular ligament – a ligament of the sole of the foot that connects the calcaneus and navicular and supports the head of the talus.
- Calcaneocuboid ligament – the ligament that connects the calcaneus and
How do you stand?
Full a bucket with water and stand one foot in it .. then stand that foot on a surface where you can see the wet print
What do you see?
- If you have a neutral pronation, the shape left behind will show a distinct ridge between the heel and the front of the foot. The ridge will be more or less half the width of the foot overall.
- A neutral pronation means that the outside of your heel is the first to strike the ground and that pressure is applied evenly as your foot rolls from heel to toe. This balanced distribution avoids placing excessive stress on particular areas of the foot, meaning that related injuries are less likely to occur
- A sign of overpronation is the footprint that shows a large percentage of the entire foot. The imprint
shows that the arch is very low, meaning that you’re more likely to have flat feet.
- The outside of the heel strikes the ground first but as the foot rolls forward, more pressure is put on the big toes. The foot lifts off with a push from these toes – this places an excessive strain on a specific area of the foot and can lead to various other problems. Common issues with overpronators include shin splints and runner’s knee.
- Pronation Shoe wear pattern: The running shoes of overpronators are likely to be worn in the middle of the heel and near the big toe. When placed on a flat surface, they may tilt inwards.
- The imprint for overpronation will show a very narrow foot arch, showing an overreliance on the outside of the foot during walking or running.
- After the heel strikes the ground, the foot rolls forward on its outer edge and pushes off the ground using the little toes. This places inordinate stress on these areas of the foot and carries an increased risk of certain injuries. Ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis are relatively common among under pronators.
- Pronation shoe wear pattern: Overpronators will see wear on the outside heel and edge of their running shoes. When placed on a flat surface, they might lean outwards slightly.