journal review foot core

JOURNAL JULY-Runners you need to know about the foot core.

For the month of July I thought that every week I would share a journal with you that I think you would find interesting.

This month the journal is ‘The foot core system’ By O McKeon, Hertel, Bramble and Irene Davis. Published in 2015 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The aim of the paper was to increase the awareness of the importance of all the foot muscles which make up the foot core. Along with how normal foot and lower leg function is affected by the foot core stability and how the foot core can be trained.

Over the last decade there has been huge attention on core stability which consists of local stabiliser muscles and global mover muscles. When core muscles do not function properly then there is scientific evidence that this can lead to over use injuries of the lower body.  With this study the professors wished to bring in the concept of the foot having the core. Just as the core has both local and global muscles the arch of the foot is controlled by these different muscles too.

The global movers are muscles that originate in the lower leg and are the main movers of the foot. The local intrinsic stabiliser muscles act to control the movement of the arch. When both sets of these muscles do not function properly then this leads to abnormal movement of the arch and the foot. This in turn can lead to over uses injuries of the foot such as plantar fasciitis and medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints).

Exercises such as towel curls and marble pick ups have been used to strengthen the arch but these exercises also work the larger global muscles. The best way to train the smaller local muscles of the foot core is to use the foot doming concept. Whilst bare foot the intrinsic muscles are used to pull the big toe towards the hell thus elevating the arch. This exercise can be progressed from sitting to standing, from standing on both feet to balancing on one leg. Once the patient has become confident in the exercise they can use the foot doming principle when performing squats and single leg hops.

It has been shown that by training the foot core by using the foot doming can lead to improve foot function by reducing arch collapse, improving dynamic balance and ankle instability. Strengthening the foot core would also have a positive impact on plantar fasciitis.

I have listened to a podcast with Professor Irene Davis who uses the foot core strengthening exercises in her clinic and she has seen hugely positive results with treating plantar fasciitis and getting people out of orthotics.

Using the key phase from the paper, a stronger foot is a healthier foot and for us runners this extremely important.

Give the foot doming a try and let me know how you get on.