The role of the foot and exercises to strengthen its inner muscles

The role of the foot and exercises to strengthen its inner muscles

What is the role of the foot when we walk? 

  • The foot plays a vital role with how we move, as it not only bears load but also needs to transition between being mobile and rigid to create the ability to walk. This transition is usually seamless and takes no thought to execute, however if there are any weaknesses or restrictions this is when problems arise as they can typically go unnoticed.  

What does it mean if we have joint restrictions or muscle weakness in the foot? 

  • Restrictions in the foot joints can have an impact on joints above the foot. As the foot moves in different directions, there is also movement being followed in the leg which is then followed by the thigh and so on. Therefore, restriction in the foot can have a direct impact with movement in areas even as high as the low-back. 
  • Weakness in certain muscles in the foot can cause other muscles to have to do most of the heavy lifting which may result in them being overworked and painful.  

What this may look like with real-life examples can be: 

  • John has sustained an ankle injury after rolling it at his soccer game over the weekend. John is limping following this incident for about a week due to the pain he is in. This limp has caused John to use certain muscles within his foot more so than others and after his ankle injury has healed these muscles may continue to be dominant when moving, resulting in weakening of the underused muscles.  
  • John’s underuse of certain parts of his foot is causing some joints to be used less than others now. These joints are becoming restricted because of this, which is also impacting the range of motion John can use in his knee and hip as the movement in the foot is followed by movement up the limb.  

How can we correct these issues? 

  • This is not a one size fits all approach and is best tackled with a trained practitioner who understands rehabilitation. Therefore, it is best to seek the advice from a practitioner who’ll assess the above factors and provide a clear plan to heal! 
  • Part of this plan will most likely involve exercises, which may be targeted at strengthening the inner muscles of the foot. These exercises can help strengthen underused muscles and offload overworked muscles. 
  • If you feel some of the above may be relevant to you. Come in today to see what plan best suits you from our lovely team! 


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Photo by Matthew Henry

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