Foot Drills

Have you ever suffered from shin splints? Achilles tendinitis? Plantar fasciitis? Ankle sprain? Knee problems? Foot drills are simple, easy, and a free way to combat these issues - if done daily.

The foot does a lot of work for the body. Tremendous stresses are placed on the foot. When running, the foot sustains forces up to 7x your body weight. With jumping activities the forces get up to 20x your body weight. If you think about how you can take ~1750 steps when running a mile, that 7x your body weight really adds up quickly! 

The foot drills work by developing a clearer neurological pathway from the foot to the brain. When you practice activities, they become easier. The foot drills challenge your balance and proprioception (awareness). Usually the balance and muscle awareness we have come from input from our muscles. Our feet don't have many muscles in them, and so it is harder to develop this pathway to the brain. Also our feet are about as far from our brain as you can get, therefore the neurological pathway is the longest. This is why you need to do the drills DAILY! The more you do them, the better the neurological connection between your feet and your brain. Developing a better brain-foot connection leads to a more steady and surer gait. When your foot strikes the ground, your brain is aware of the process, it controls your foot, and you have a stable landing.

There are a total of 6 foot drills. Each drill should be done over ~25 meters. You can do the drills at your own pace. To do all 6 drills, it takes about 4 minutes. 

1. Inversion - walk forward only putting weight on the outside parts of your feet

chiropractic foot drills inversion

2. Eversion - walk forward only putting weight on the inside parts of your feet

chiropractic foot drills eversion

3. Toe-in - walk forward with your toes pointing inwards (some people call this pigeon toed)

chiropractic foot drills toe-in

4. Toe-out - walk forward with your toes pointed outwards

chiropractic foot drills toe-out

5. Toe walk - walk BACKWARDS on your toes

chiropractic foot drills toe walk

6. Heel walk - walk forward on only the heels of your feet
    (you can wear shoes to protect against bruising the heel)

chiropractic foot drills heel walk


Those aren't so bad are they? Pretty simple. You can do them in the office (like Dr. Emily did for the photos here) or right before your daily exercise. The idea behind these foot drills came from Dr. Russ Ebbets. He is a chiropractor with an extensive background with USA Track and Field. He started implementing these drills in his athletes in 1987, and found that if done once daily, his athletes stayed healthy and were able to perform better. 


Homework for Your Muscles

Workouts and training sessions are important, but recovery is just as important. If you don't take care of your body post training session, you'll be more prone to injury. No one likes getting hurt! 

Here are the 3 things that Dr. Emily thinks are key tools for muscle homework:

  1. The Stick
  2. Lacrosse ball
  3. Water
tools for muscle homework

The stick is great for rolling out muscles. Rolling out muscles? What does that mean? Rolling out muscles is a way to elongate your muscle fibers. It helps to work on muscle trigger points (muscle knots/kinks), too. This helps to keep the muscle fibers relaxed, happy, and functioning optimally. Dr. Emily also recommends foam rolling, but the stick is nice because it is smaller and easy to stash in your briefcase/backpack/large purse. This means you can easily pack it to take care of those sore muscles during some down time in the office. Reading emails in the office? You can use the stick on your leg muscles. Here are some tips on how to use The Stick on your muscles. 

The Stick Instructions

The Stick is great for broad muscle relief, but sometimes you just have that spot that hurts deeper that the stick can't get. That's where the lacrosse ball comes into play. Dr. Emily likes using the lacrosse to roll out the bottoms of her feet. To do this, just place the lacrosse ball under your foot (like below), and move your foot back and forth on top of the ball. 

Lacrosse Ball Foot Massage

You can also use this on the sore spots in your legs or gluteal region. Find those sore spots rolling on top of the ball, and just hang out on them. Let your muscles just release and relax on top of the ball. Don't neglect your upper body, too! 

Lastly, don't forget to hydrate! It's easy to remember to drink water after exercise, but after working out the muscles with The Stick or a lacrosse ball, you also need to hydrate. Drink a lot of water to help flush out the muscles.