What does an inchworm and the foot have in common? All will be revealed!
The inch worm travels by stretching out it’s head then drawing or pulling it’s tail end towards it’s head. It does this by shortening it’s body.
The very same action happens in the foot when you walk on it. It lengthens and shortens. Technically, a supinated foot is short – the arch is lifted and the bones of the lower side of the foot are close together. A pronated foot is long – the arch is low to the ground and the bones of the underside of the foot are spread out.
When your foot moves from long foot to short foot and back again ALL the bones of your feet should move. But if there’s stiffness in the foot, they might not.
What if all of the bones of the foot don’t move? Well that’s where problems arise within the foot and up the leg. Bones not moving are muscles not moving. Not-moving muscles can be weak and lose their ability to tension. Not-moving muscles can inflame and be painful.
The short foot exercise – supinates the foot
The short foot exercise helps to tension the muscles that make up the foot arch. It’s pretty easy to identify feet which have foot arch muscles that don’t work well because the arch is low all the time. A foot with a permanently low arch is called over-pronated. It’s stuck in pronation and can’t supinate.
In the short foot exercise, you make an inchworm action with your foot. You stretch the ball of the foot away from the heel which lengthens the foot. Then you pull the ball of the foot in towards the heel while keeping the heel still and stuck down on the ground. It’s the ball of the foot you want to pull in here, not the toe. It’s also, really the first metatarsal head, the base of the big toe, that you want to try to pull in. It’s the inside foot arch we are working on here (the medial arch – yes there are other foot arches not just the one).
It’s handy to use a cloth or yoga strap under the ball of the foot to give you something to actually pull in. Just so you can feel what should be happening. Remember to us the ball of the foot not the toes though.
Note: This exercise is for the flat footed amongst us. If your feet are over-supinated, best not do this exercise much, your foot is already short and you need to work on lengthening it!