Small foot

In this article you will get to know more about exercise called “small foot”. You can find the tutorial for this exercise in this link HERE.

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Small foot is a term for exercise during which you shorten (activate the longitudinal arch of the foot - A) and narrow (activation of the transverse arch of the foot - B) the foot. By involving the muscles of the soles, you “irritate” the proprioceptors (= receptors registering changes in the position and movement). An increased number of impulses is flowing into the brain and you can manage the movement better way. It leads to improved muscle coordination, accelerated muscle contraction (prevention against joint sprains), adjustment of the balance disorder, general improvement of the body posture and affecting the disorders of proprioception by neurological illnesses.

The exercise is derived from a concept of sensory motor stimulation (SMS) and “small foot” should be kept in positions and motions based on the concept. You can start training in a sitting position when you don’t burden your foot excessively. Therapist will passively model the foot into a “three point” support - heel, little toe and big toe. Common mistake is clenching the nails of your toes against the mat. Your toes should be in this exercise completely relaxed and flexible. You should first observe the movement and imagine the shortening and narrowing of your sole. Then try to create the small foot with help of physiotherapist. And after that you can try to attempt to do the exercise alone. If you are able to to the exercise in a sitting position, you can try to stand up, the requirements on stabilization are gradually increasing, and you can help yourself by using various balance pads, do jumps and lunges.

The exercise of the small foot can be used if you suffer from deformities of the foot (longitudinal or transverse foot, hallux valgus,...), heel spurs, pain and instability in the ankle, knee and hip joints, but because of the spine dysfunction, where common cause can be improper walking stereotype or position of the of the foot. The exercise can be very useful by elder people, when we need to achieve stability and train as a prevention against falling down. You should not perform the exercise if you feel pain during the exercise or when you suffer from a complete loss of the deep proprioception (syfilis, spinal cord injury,...).

If the exercise caught your interest and you would like to try it out and exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have various balance tools, which can not only help you to regain stability, but the exercise also becomes much more entertaining.


Author: FYZIOklinika, physiotherapy Ltd., Prague
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