Foot & Lower Leg

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ANATOMY OF THE FOOT AND LOWER LEG

The foot is the first and last part of the body to touch the ground each day. It provides support when walking and running and is the foundation for the body's structural integrity and movement. When it comes to addressing the foot and its functionality we should look directly at the muscles that control the foot.

 

As we age, range of motion in the foot is lost specifically in dorsiflexion. There was a time when we all walked tall and confident only to find ourselves years later shuffling along to get through the work week. We no longer rely on the foot and ankle for movement, but rather concentrate on the knee and hip to propel the body forward.

 

Elasticity - the ability for the muscle to lengthen and rebound back to its natural state.

 

As the body's muscular structure or elasticity breaks down, so do biomechanics. Muscles are better off resembling a pliable bungee cord rather than a rigid rope.

ANATOMY OF THE BOTTOM OF THE FOOT

Aches and pains in the heel, or in the bottom of the foot, can be very challenging. It can stop the best of us from walking, running, or playing sports. Some doctors occasionally suggest putting a cast around the foot to overcome painful limitations.

Aches and pains in the heel, or in the bottom of the foot, can be very challenging. It can stop the best of us from walking, running, or playing sports. Some doctors occasionally suggest putting a cast around the foot to overcome painful limitations.

When foot dysfunction and aches and pains in the bottom of the foot is discussed most people immediately think of Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis and general aches and pains of the foot can generally be the result of loss of foot functionality.

 

Myofascial Release Massage - Myofascial release refers to the manual massage technique for stretching the fascia and releasing bonds between fascia, integument, and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equilibrioception. Myofascial release usually involves applying shear compression or tension in various directions, or by skin rolling. (wikipedia.org)

The question is where does this Myofascial Release massage need to occur? Example: you have a muscle called the posterior tibialis that bases itself between the tibia and fibia, and starts just below the knee and just above the ankle.

 

The posterior tibialis bases itself in the bottom of the foot, specifically in the arch. As you can see in the picture above, the muscle in the center back area of the lower leg connects directly in the arch of the foot. By massaging this area you can strengthen the muscles to allow the tendons to do their job efficiently while restoring foot functionality and minimizing aches and pains.

 

There are really three main muscles that contribute to loss of foot functionality and aches and pains within the bottom of the foot; the Soleus, Posterior Tibialis, and Gastrocnemius.

There are other muscles within the lower leg that connect in the bottom of the foot but targeting these 3 muscles will give you the greatest rate of return. What areas can you massage, strengthen and tone to get the maximum amount of flexibility and range of motion? To help answer this, grab the back of your leg and squeeze firmly.

After you have a good grip on the muscle group, rotate your foot in a circle. You may find that it is difficult to rotate due to the calf complex being over worked and tight, therefore pulling on the insertion points that connect in the bottom of the foot. (Please notice how the thumb is placed on inside of the soleus muscle, not on the bone, and the forefingers are on the outside of the soleus).

Now, apply pressure with the opposite hand where you would normally feel discomfort on the bottom of the foot. By doing this simple test you may feel a change in sensation on the bottom of the foot. This is a great experiment to see if the muscles within the calf region are in fact tight and pulling from their insertion points.

SO WHAT'S THE POINT?

All the muscles in the calf region connect in the bottom of the foot. Once they get over worked and bound up, they will pull from the muscle's insertion and origin. This not only causes loss of flexibility in the foot and ankle, but also creates aches and pains within the bottom of the foot.

 

Take a look at the image below. See how the tendons support the ankle then attach into the bottom of the foot. All of these tendons are parented by the muscles they are associated with. The muscles are much larger than the tendons, so you can imagine the damage a muscle can do to a tendon if it is not taken care of.

In order to free your foot to function properly and to eliminate discomfort associated with the muscles pulling from the insertion points in the bottom of the foot, you must go after the muscles that control the foot. Without optimal flexibility in the foot and ankle, you need to strengthen, tone, and massage the muscles that control the foot and ankle.

 

Due to dehydration, repetitive motion, and poor biomechanics while moving, sitting or even sleeping, muscles can stick, or adhere together. Once again, the posterior tibialis muscle is located in the back of the leg layered beneath the soleus and gastroc (calf).

If all of the muscles within this region stick together, the insertion points in the bottom of the foot do not have a chance to function properly.

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

You must target the muscles that control the foot to regain range of motion in the foot. By creating elasticity with massage or myofascial release in the muscles that connect in the arch of the foot, you are going to allow the muscles to rebound to their natural state while reducing the amount of tension in the arch of the foot.

 

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featured video

Foot & Lower Leg Kit - Dysfunction of the Achilles is being cared for by addressing the soleus with the Footballer and Baller Block


Foot & Lower Leg Kit - The gastroc muscle is being acutely addressed using the TP Massage Ball and Baller Block.

 

Foot & Lower Leg Kit - The Footballer's size and shape make it ideal for addressing the peroneus muscles.

 

Foot & Lower Leg Kit - The TP Massage Ball is being used to free up dysfunctional tissue in the anterior tibialis.

 

Foot & Lower Leg Kit - Two TP Massage Balls make it possible to acutely address the calf complex from the lateral and medial sides.