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Foot and ankle strengthening exercises

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#1

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Waka

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#2
I just ordered a pair of Xero Shoes Terraflex trail shoes, and am now on their email list. Today they sent this email with a link to a blog post from a yoga instructor with exercises to strengthen the feet and ankles. I thought it it might be helpful to forum members. :)
https://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-running-tips/6-exercises-to-strengthen-your-ankles-and-feet/?_ke=dHJlY2lsZUBnbWFpbC5jb20=
Just had a try of these exercises, I have to say for an old man they're going to take a little getting used too.
 

Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#3
Are you planning to walk the Camino in them or use them as evening/shower shoes?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
De la plata
#4
I just ordered a pair of Xero Shoes Terraflex trail shoes, and am now on their email list. Today they sent this email with a link to a blog post from a yoga instructor with exercises to strengthen the feet and ankles. I thought it it might be helpful to forum members. :)
https://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-running-tips/6-exercises-to-strengthen-your-ankles-and-feet/?_ke=dHJlY2lsZUBnbWFpbC5jb20=
Anyone else have plantar fascitis? I think that is what I have. Can be agony and stop me walking. If that is what it is. :(
 
Camino(s) past & future
Want to walk to coastal camino in Portugal
#5
I just returned home from walking the Portuguese coastal and was unable to complete because of plantar fasciatus/ heel spurs. Extremely painful.
 

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kirkie

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#6
Anyone else have plantar fascitis? I think that is what I have. Can be agony and stop me walking. If that is what it is. :(
Yes, I had it. Physiotherapy worked. And regular exercises as given by physiotherapist.even now, sometimes, I do the exercises.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#7
Are you planning to walk the Camino in them or use them as evening/shower shoes?
These are the shoes that I ordered https://xeroshoes.com/shop/product-category/terraflex/, they are not sandals, but full trail shoes. The first pair that I received was a bit short, so I've ordered a size up. They have a wide toe box, and those straps that the laces go through really snug down the midfoot and heel nicely.

They also make a boot.

terraflex.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
I would like to do the Camino in the spring of 2015
#8
Anyone else have plantar fascitis? I think that is what I have. Can be agony and stop me walking. If that is what it is. :(
I too developed PF on my third day out of Santiago, and it was awfully difficult to complete the Portuguese, but I did. I had an ultrasound in Vigo where I got the diagnosis then hobbled around Porto and Lisbon for a week.

Will take every precaution to not let this happen again as there will be other Caminos - 3 more before my 80th.

I read there is a PF sleeve that can be worn but know nothing about it, and will purchase thick gel inserts - will not give up.
MK
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#9
Here is a repost of what I have previously written and posted for those concerned with Plantars Fasciitis:

Top Exercises to Help Avoid Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common type of chronic heel pain. It seems to affect young male athletes and middle-aged obese women more than any other group, but that does not mean other groups are immune to it. The inflamed tissue around the heel seems to cause a stabbing-like sensation, which is worse in the morning. This condition may be prevented, and the following exercises will help you do that.

Arch Stretching
Stretching your arch muscles is not too difficult, but the exercise is a little peculiar. The first thing you need to do is take off your shoes and get barefoot, and then place a towel on the floor. Now, simply place your foot on the towel, and curl your toes to clench the towel. Pull the towel toward you, and that is it. Place the towel in front of you again, and repeat. Be sure to do the same for your other foot.

This exercise is typically suggested by professionals for those who actually have plantar fasciitis already, but it can definitely be helpful to everyone. You should try and do this several times a week, but make sure to not overstretch your feet while you’re doing it.

Calf Strengthening
The calf and the tendons surrounding your heel need to be strengthened. A simple exercise that may help you do this is calf raises. What you want to do is stand straight on level ground. You should be barefooted for best traction, but it is not absolutely necessary. Now, all you have to do is lift your heels off the ground so that you are standing on your toes. Stay in this position as long as you can before returning your heels to the ground, and just repeat this at least nine more times.

Another way to do this exercise that works great is to stand at the edge of a stair or curb. You want your toes to be what keeps you on the stair or curb. Then, raise your heels up so that you are on your “tippy toes” and then back down again, but allow your heels to go lower than your toes past the edge of the stair or curb. This exercise allows for a fuller stretch.

Alleviate Pronation
Pronation is a natural part of your foot’s movement. This refers to how the foot rolls and applies pressure when the heel finally hits the ground. Pronation may be normal, but that does not mean the constant shock it receives when you walk or run does not have an effect on it. One way you can alleviate the pressure is to try doming. To do this, just place your foot flat on the ground, and then press your toes on the ground while keeping your heels firmly on the floor. This should create a dome between your heel and toes. Maintain this position for 10 seconds, straighten your foot, and then just start again.

Work the Interossei
The Interossei muscles help support your arch muscles thus preventing this issue. All you have to do is place a large rubber band around your toes for resistance. Then, stretch your toes and hold for 10 seconds. Squeeze your toes for another 10 seconds, and repeat these steps about five to 10 times.

What to Do When Your Feet Are Hurting?
Whether or not you’re at risk of getting Plantar Fasciitis, you’re going to come across a time where you’re feet are going to hurt. Maybe you were standing all day at work, ran a marathon, or whatever. If your feet are hurting, take a break and rest, stretch, and recover. Get off your feet for a little bit and either ice or heat your feet. If you notice any swelling or severe pain, then ice it. If it’s just sore, then apply heat with a hot bath. Then, make sure to rub out the tension and to do some basic exercises. You can try the ones above or do some other types. One popular one is to roll a tennis ball underneath the feet. This helps to preserve the arch and massage it at the same time
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
#10
I had PF doing the C.F. in 2015. I was fine from SJPP til Burgos, then the pain became progressively worse. I did intermittent bus trips which allowed my husband to keep going. Not what we planned, but that became "my" camino. We both made it to SdC, but... differently. The pain really was awful. On returning home I wore a Futuro Night FOOT sleep support EVERY NIGHT for a month and, day by day, the pain decreased and I haven't had it again. I want to say that I did do many of the exercises people have mentioned both on the camino and when I got home. I believe they help.
 

KerrieG

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
#11
Here is a repost of what I have previously written and posted for those concerned with Plantars Fasciitis:

Top Exercises to Help Avoid Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common type of chronic heel pain. It seems to affect young male athletes and middle-aged obese women more than any other group, but that does not mean other groups are immune to it. The inflamed tissue around the heel seems to cause a stabbing-like sensation, which is worse in the morning. This condition may be prevented, and the following exercises will help you do that.

Arch Stretching
Stretching your arch muscles is not too difficult, but the exercise is a little peculiar. The first thing you need to do is take off your shoes and get barefoot, and then place a towel on the floor. Now, simply place your foot on the towel, and curl your toes to clench the towel. Pull the towel toward you, and that is it. Place the towel in front of you again, and repeat. Be sure to do the same for your other foot.

This exercise is typically suggested by professionals for those who actually have plantar fasciitis already, but it can definitely be helpful to everyone. You should try and do this several times a week, but make sure to not overstretch your feet while you’re doing it.

Calf Strengthening
The calf and the tendons surrounding your heel need to be strengthened. A simple exercise that may help you do this is calf raises. What you want to do is stand straight on level ground. You should be barefooted for best traction, but it is not absolutely necessary. Now, all you have to do is lift your heels off the ground so that you are standing on your toes. Stay in this position as long as you can before returning your heels to the ground, and just repeat this at least nine more times.

Another way to do this exercise that works great is to stand at the edge of a stair or curb. You want your toes to be what keeps you on the stair or curb. Then, raise your heels up so that you are on your “tippy toes” and then back down again, but allow your heels to go lower than your toes past the edge of the stair or curb. This exercise allows for a fuller stretch.

Alleviate Pronation
Pronation is a natural part of your foot’s movement. This refers to how the foot rolls and applies pressure when the heel finally hits the ground. Pronation may be normal, but that does not mean the constant shock it receives when you walk or run does not have an effect on it. One way you can alleviate the pressure is to try doming. To do this, just place your foot flat on the ground, and then press your toes on the ground while keeping your heels firmly on the floor. This should create a dome between your heel and toes. Maintain this position for 10 seconds, straighten your foot, and then just start again.

Work the Interossei
The Interossei muscles help support your arch muscles thus preventing this issue. All you have to do is place a large rubber band around your toes for resistance. Then, stretch your toes and hold for 10 seconds. Squeeze your toes for another 10 seconds, and repeat these steps about five to 10 times.

What to Do When Your Feet Are Hurting?
Whether or not you’re at risk of getting Plantar Fasciitis, you’re going to come across a time where you’re feet are going to hurt. Maybe you were standing all day at work, ran a marathon, or whatever. If your feet are hurting, take a break and rest, stretch, and recover. Get off your feet for a little bit and either ice or heat your feet. If you notice any swelling or severe pain, then ice it. If it’s just sore, then apply heat with a hot bath. Then, make sure to rub out the tension and to do some basic exercises. You can try the ones above or do some other types. One popular one is to roll a tennis ball underneath the feet. This helps to preserve the arch and massage it at the same time
Thanks for that! Printed it out. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Plan on returning in 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
#12
I just ordered a pair of Xero Shoes Terraflex trail shoes, and am now on their email list. Today they sent this email with a link to a blog post from a yoga instructor with exercises to strengthen the feet and ankles. I thought it it might be helpful to forum members. :)
https://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-running-tips/6-exercises-to-strengthen-your-ankles-and-feet/?_ke=dHJlY2lsZUBnbWFpbC5jb20=
I was also going to try the xeroshoes, but there are no stores in my area that carry them. I just bought a pair of Altra trail runners instead, which seem to be a similar concept with the zero drop foot shape design.

Most of the stuff I have read about these minimalist shoes says you should only wear them for a short amount time at first, to allow your feet to adjust and get stronger.

The strengthening exercises seem like a good idea also, thanks for the link!
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#13
I was also going to try the xeroshoes, but there are no stores in my area that carry them. I just bought a pair of Altra trail runners instead, which seem to be a similar concept with the zero drop foot shape design.

Most of the stuff I have read about these minimalist shoes says you should only wear them for a short amount time at first, to allow your feet to adjust and get stronger.

The strengthening exercises seem like a good idea also, thanks for the link!
There aren't too many retail outlets for Xero Shoes. My feet are hard to fit - the Altras didn't work for me - so I usually end up having to order my shoes anyway. The Xero Shoe people are great about making exchanges for free.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#14
I have the Xero Z-Trail sandals, and they are pretty comfortable. Using the website and following the directions for printing out the foot outlines to get a measurement of size worked well for me. The online ordering went fairly straight forward.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#15
Didn’t know they made trail shoes. Yet another interesting and potentially useful thing that I’ve learned from you, @trecile. My only query is about the depth of the tread. I’ve walked the CF in early Topo Athletic trail runners that had very shallow treads. I felt every pebble, sharp or smooth. Wasn’t all bad though because it cured my plantar fasciitis and it hasn’t come back.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#16
Alleviate Pronation
Pronation is a natural part of your foot’s movement. This refers to how the foot rolls and applies pressure when the heel finally hits the ground. Pronation may be normal, but that does not mean the constant shock it receives when you walk or run does not have an effect on it. One way you can alleviate the pressure is to try doming. To do this, just place your foot flat on the ground, and then press your toes on the ground while keeping your heels firmly on the floor. This should create a dome between your heel and toes. Maintain this position for 10 seconds, straighten your foot, and then just start again.
I have read this post before and found it very helpful. Now, having walked about 1000 km in Altras and re-reading it, I am wondering if you think this paragraph answers my question about my adaptation to Altras. Here's what happened -- at the beginning, I got pain across the top of my foot, which I have had before on other caminos and which was easily cured by loosening the lacing. But then my heels were sloshing around. I found, though, that as I walked more in the Altras, I could lace the shoes tighter. At the end, they were laced normally, no adjustments, no top-of-foot pain, no heel sloshing. My theory is that maybe my foot strike had to adjust to the unique no-drop feature of the shoe and that had something to do with pronation.

Does that make sense to the experts?
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#17
Didn’t know they made trail shoes. Yet another interesting and potentially useful thing that I’ve learned from you, @trecile. My only query is about the depth of the tread. I’ve walked the CF in early Topo Athletic trail runners that had very shallow treads. I felt every pebble, sharp or smooth. Wasn’t all bad though because it cured my plantar fasciitis and it hasn’t come back.
The lugs on the soles are pretty deep, about the same as the New Balance trail runners that I wore on the Camino before.
Screenshot_20180520-071708.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Plan on returning in 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
#18
I have read this post before and found it very helpful. Now, having walked about 1000 km in Altras and re-reading it, I am wondering if you think this paragraph answers my question about my adaptation to Altras. Here's what happened -- at the beginning, I got pain across the top of my foot, which I have had before on other caminos and which was easily cured by loosening the lacing. But then my heels were sloshing around. I found, though, that as I walked more in the Altras, I could lace the shoes tighter. At the end, they were laced normally, no adjustments, no top-of-foot pain, no heel sloshing. My theory is that maybe my foot strike had to adjust to the unique no-drop feature of the shoe and that had something to do with pronation.

Does that make sense to the experts?
I'm no expert but it makes sense to me! Years of wearing shoes that restrict our foots natural movement would take its toll. I'm hoping a little pain making the transition now will payoff with less injuries in the future.

I've never had any major foot problems, except for wanting to cry when trying to climb a bunk bed ladder after walking 20 miles. But I've seen and heard enough to make me want to avoid them.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#19
Didn’t know they made trail shoes. Yet another interesting and potentially useful thing that I’ve learned from you, @trecile. My only query is about the depth of the tread. I’ve walked the CF in early Topo Athletic trail runners that had very shallow treads. I felt every pebble, sharp or smooth. Wasn’t all bad though because it cured my plantar fasciitis and it hasn’t come back.
That is a reason that most trail runners now incorporate a "rock plate" or shield within the midsole. It is a lightweight thermoplastic, or a few use carbon fiber, plate within the midsole. It is flexible while being able to take the brunt of the 'blunt force trauma' of feeling trail debris and rocks.

You can do a quick retrofit of any shoe that you already have and find comfortable. The easiest is to purchase a third party insole with a rock plate, or with a firm bottom plate to insert into the shoe.

The most inexpensive, effective McGyver'd solution is to use your existing insole to trace its outline onto the plastic material of a milk container. Then adhere that plate into the interior bottom of each shoe with a few dabs of silicone caulk or construction adhesive. Just enough dots of the stuff to keep the plate in place. Your existing insole goes on top of that. Et voila... a homemade rock buffer for your feet.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#20
I have read this post before and found it very helpful. Now, having walked about 1000 km in Altras and re-reading it, I am wondering if you think this paragraph answers my question about my adaptation to Altras. Here's what happened -- at the beginning, I got pain across the top of my foot, which I have had before on other caminos and which was easily cured by loosening the lacing. But then my heels were sloshing around. I found, though, that as I walked more in the Altras, I could lace the shoes tighter. At the end, they were laced normally, no adjustments, no top-of-foot pain, no heel sloshing. My theory is that maybe my foot strike had to adjust to the unique no-drop feature of the shoe and that had something to do with pronation.

Does that make sense to the experts?
It makes sense, since how foot mechanics deal with each strike on the ground can determine foot movement in a shoe. Obviously, your new footwear keeps the foot movement to a minimum front to back, which is why some folks, as you did previously, have to compensate by tightening laces.

If you had, or ever go back, to a shoe similar to your non-Altras, that problem can be eliminated by adopting a zoned tension when tying shoes. For example, I will keep a loose tension on my laces until about where my instep begins to arch upward. At that point, I will tie a square knot. Then I will continue lacing up the shoe. This allows me to quickly tighten my laces to keep my feet from sliding forward and banging my toes on the front of the shoe while on downhill stretches. When I am no longer going downhill, then I can relax the tension again. In both cases, my forefoot, which needs to have as much width as possible, is never pressured or pinched, yet the overall motion to the foot going forward in the shoe is able to be controlled as is needed.

I am glad for you that you have a good shoe and your feet can be happy :)
 

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