Every day the team here at Sole Motion Podiatry have the privilege of helping patients with pain and injury in their feet and legs. Almost always, part of the treatment and prevention strategy will include components of stretching and strengthening. Often, it is actually weak or tight muscles that cause the problem to develop in the first place. Either way, it’s an important step.
Unfortunately, because a majority of foot problems make it difficult to walk and bear weight on the feet, it can make following a stretching and strengthening plan difficult. So today, we thought we’d focus on an activity that can help you regain your strength and flexibility while you recover from your injury: Pilates!
It doesn’t need to be said that Pilates is great for both stretching and strengthening. Depending on the class you take, a large component of pilates typically involves static stretching – the kind that moves your joints and muscles through their full range of motion and pushes them past that to improve long-term flexibility. Pilates can also have an element of repeated movements, or dynamic stretches, which work to warm up and loosen joints. These get you ready for the day ahead and reduce the risk of injury throughout your day.
Pilates exercises are often done in a non-weight bearing (off your feet) or with not a great deal of pressure on your feet, so are ideal when you want to avoid pressure away from injured bones and structures. Exercises that may aggravate your injury are relatively easily adjusted to conduct the same movement but without the pressure. This means you recover faster while gaining the strength and flexibility you need.
Usually, when we carry out movements and activities, there is so much going on at the same time and we’re having input from so many senses that it can be difficult to focus in on the goal. The relaxed nature of pilates allows our brain to really hone in on the muscle or joints that we are working, and allow us to really feel any weakness or tightness present. This gives us a greater opportunity to focus on our technique and get our alignment right, so we get the most out of these exercises.
Shoes have a great influence on the alignment of our feet and legs when we’re on our feet, and may make it more difficult for us to perform certain target movements. Stretching and strengthening without our shoes means we can carry out more precise movements, such as the curling of our toes and the inwards/outwards movement of our feet without being restricted by the tops of our shoes around our ankles.
As an added benefit we’ll add that while pilates is great for the feet and legs, you’re also working your whole body at the same time. When we treat your feet and legs, we always think of your whole body and the impact from your feet up. Maintaining good overall body conditioning and strength will help reduce your risk of injury in the future and will generally help you to feel better!
After years of treating foot and leg pain, we understand how difficult it can be to follow your rehab plan when you’re in pain, and we believe this is a great solution. To find out more about what strengthening and stretching exercises are best for your injury, give our expert podiatry team a call on 1300 – FIX – FEET. You’ll be able to take the exercises we prescribe to your pilates session and we can show you the most effective ways of integrating them in.
For a recommendation on a great pilates instructor in the area, we highly recommend Julie Ojeda from Pilates Nation. You can also check out her Facebook and Instagram! And while you’re there – don’t forget to have fun and say hi from us!