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Developing Intrinsic Foot Strength with FRC™ methods

November 6, 2012

In this video I take you through some exercise progressions for the development of intrinsic foot strength…a grossly ignored aspect of physical conditioning which in my opinion has erroneously led to the over-perscription, and over-utilization of orthotics….as well as an industry that is geared towards making you think your feet have something ‘inherently’ wrong with them.  What is wrong….WEAKNESS!

I further describe this problem in the video and then demonstrate some exercises that you can use on you patients (or yourself) to take back your foot control.  ALL of these concepts will be greatly expanded on in the upcoming FUNCTIONAL RANGE CONDITIONING (FRC)™ Mobility development workshops coming out in 2013…stay tuned for upcoming posts describing this exciting new method as well as for seminar dates.


17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2012 3:53 pm

    Very good video Dr. Spina, some simple & easy to do exercises that could help a lot of people. I also *really* liked your discussion as to why people have weak feet. We’d never consider foregoing rehab and permanently bracing an injured shoulder, back, elbow, etc., then why is it acceptable to artificially support/brace a weak or injured foot and ankle? Again, great work.

  2. Lori permalink
    November 6, 2012 4:13 pm

    do you do the toe/calf raises do you work towards not using your hands to balance?

    • November 6, 2012 5:45 pm

      Absolutely…it is very important to transition to no hands as soon as possible to get maximal challenge on the foot musculature

  3. Lori permalink
    November 6, 2012 4:14 pm

    sorry I mean when you do the calf raises

  4. November 6, 2012 4:27 pm

    Great video Dr. Spina, those are good exercises for anyone to do, not just those looking to transition to barefoot activity. I also really liked your comment on how we’d never consider foregoing rehab and permanently bracing a weak or injured shoulder / back / hip, yet many practitioners only prescribe a brace or orthotic for a weak or injured foot/ankle. Again, great work.

    • November 6, 2012 4:29 pm

      ….my apologies for the double post… I just REALLY liked the video! 🙂 Joke. There was a delay in the posting of my initial comment.

  5. Alisha permalink
    November 6, 2012 6:50 pm

    Great Video! I have a two questions… (1) you mentioned that you perform each exercise until exhaustion (fighting through cramps, etc) but how many times should you perform each exercise? (2) when you were performing the squat exercise which the full body leans you were lifting your toes up, so as long as you can control the movement you don’t need to keep the toes planted? Thanks again, very interesting and informative.

    • November 8, 2012 3:20 pm

      Hi Alisha…thanks for the questions…

      1. Really the best answer is as often as possible….keeping in mind not to work through DOMS
      2. So long as the metatarsal heads and the heels are on the floor

  6. perterraspo permalink
    November 6, 2012 7:07 pm

    3 studies have looked at muscle strength and foot orthotics. One found no differences and the other two actually showed foot orthotics strengthened the foot muscles. That is what the evidence says, not what you are implying.

    • November 8, 2012 3:23 pm

      Hi Perter

      Yes….I am very familiar with all of the work that has been done on this area. Although these studies exist, by the time individuals get to the point of orthotics the strengthening effect is often not enough to get them out. Rather, it allows people to wear them comfortably. A $500 piece of ‘strengthening’ equipment seems steep considering the ones that I am suggesting are free….and also provide a means of progressive adaptation, and a way OUT of the $500/year expense.

  7. November 6, 2012 8:20 pm

    Great Post! Keep them coming!

  8. Alan permalink
    November 7, 2012 4:22 am

    Do you think those exercises would be appropriate for someone with anterior compartment symptoms/syndrome? Also, can you put an addendum in for those with webbed toes? Thanks and great post!

    • November 8, 2012 3:24 pm

      Hi Alan

      Yes, these exercises are absolutely appropriate for compartment syndrome…and I have had very good results prescribing them for that exact reason.

  9. November 10, 2012 11:12 pm

    Would these exercises help benefit someone with forefoot/ball of foot pain?

    • November 13, 2012 2:32 pm

      It all really depends on the exact diagnosis. Certainly having better intrinsic foot control would only serve to help the overall mechanics of the foot


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