Thursday, March 1, 2012


Because the long bone supporting my big toe is too short, my feet roll in on the inside and I pronate. If I want to stand on one foot, I have to curl my toes with all the mighty power of my size 6.5 (American) feet, and push my inside foot up from the floor. When I do that, it puts my ankle directly over my heel. This means all my weight is going through the ankle, through  the heel to the floor.  If my heel bone was a little off (so it was, shall we say 'stubby' on the inside) curling my toes would have the same effect. My ankle would move over my heel and I would be able to balance on one foot. I can't balance on one foot without the toe curl unless I use a lot of body lean and arm waving.

I'll now wait while you try this experiment. Stand on one foot without curling your toes, then with curling your toes. See how long you can stand on one foot without the toe crl. Probably not very long. If you use toe curl your toes and your arch get tired holding your foot at an angle. If you had a wedge between your foot and the floor maybe you could relax and not use the muscles in your toes and arch.

I'm going to make some popcorn. Let me know when you're back.

Oh, hi! Nice to see you again. Did the experiment work? If it did, the first thing you're probably thinking is 'Why doesn't she talk about her in boot wedging solution?'  Because if curling my toes works to push my foot onto the outside edge, then a wedge should too. Be patient psdawan. I'll get to that.

But, today I want to talk about building up the strength of the feet.

While I was having some serious booting problems with pronation (custom boots, custom orthotics, plus blade adjustments) I happened to take a Ballet bootcamp style class at my aerobics center. Six weeks of two 30 minute lessons a week. A lot of standing on one foot, a lot of raising myself on my toes on one foot. After 6 weeks, I had feet that could bench press Ohio.

The custom boots had to be sent back to the manufacturer for a rebuild so I started skating in my old boots again. These had been made ready for sale, by putting the blade in the center position. Suddenly,  I could get to my outside edge even without the blade adjustment. I still had the custom orthotics in. But I was able to minimize them so that instead of a big wedge on both feet, they only had a narrow wedge on one foot, and wedge free on the other.

My feet were now so strong that I no longer felt the ache in them I used to when I skated. I was also able to use the toe curl in subtle ways so that I didn't seem to need the extreme orthotics that I once had. Win. Win.

So since I can't replicate the class for you, I found a dance site with similar exercises if you want to give it a try. Dancers need strong feet and ankles for going en pointe. These exercises are equipment free. You'll see the poster here uses the dance term 'releve'. Releve just means to rise up to the balls of your foot so you're using only your toes for balance.

I can't see the downside for a skater to strengthen their feet and ankles. I would think foot strength would be good for freestylers as well. I look forward to your comments and experiences.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the wedging solution I use.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!! Thanks for the link! I was searching through the whole Google to find out the cause of the lingeing pain on my right feet (apparently no one in my classes has the same problem as me.... ). It is hurting so much now that I can't do anything on the my right feet...
    This will help so much!