If you are performing most athletic or movement-based activities, you use your feet in some manner. Outside of a select few, all sports break down to being able to induce force into the ground and move. An overwhelming majority of the time this is done with the feet. So how do those feet, and ankles begin to lose proper, and uniform motion? Tissue adapts. That is how we build muscle after working out, or how a tendon feels better, and less pain following an ankle sprain. It is how someone who just starts running feels as if they are going nowhere can progressively become more efficient over time.
It should come as no surprise that as our feet impact the ground, tens of thousands of times that the joints and surrounding tissue will adapt to accommodate those forces. This is exactly what should happen! It is good. Think of a Kung Fu master punching a hard piece of wood for hours. It allows for an improved physiologic adaptation of the tissue. The only time we begin to see issues arise occurs when those tissues adapt too far, or the forces that are induced into those tissues exceed their ability to adapt. In either scenario, this induces more and inappropriately altered forces to the tissues further up the chain.
To help moderate tissue adaptation, or to keep it in the “Goldilocks” zone, we use targeted exercises. No matter what exercise is prescribed, there should always be a reason. The selected exercises should help improve movement quality. Such as being aimed to induce motion at the specific joints that may become too rigid. Or loading a specific tendon so it can remodel its soft tissue to repair itself. These are two of the many ways that therapeutic exercises can help keep us moving in the right direction as we push ourselves forward daily.
If you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to reach out to us!!
Dr. Kyle Buck