Are you someone who has a hard time climbing stairs? Do your knees and low back hurt when you squat down to pick something up? Does doing active things like playing with your kids or going for a run become harder and harder due to joint pain?
If you answered yes to any of these, it very well could be you have tight and restricted heels. Most of you are reading this and thinking, “your heels, really Marc?”
Yes, it truly could be your heels and here’s why. Let’s think of our body just like a car. The power source of our cars is the engine. Our bodies power source is our butt. It’s the biggest muscle in our body. To activate the engine in your car, you have to make sure you have the right key in the ignition. For our bodies, the heel and the subtalar joint (joint that connects the talus and the heel which are the 2 largest bones in the foot) are the ignition to turning on our our power source the butt.
When we take a step, our heel hits the ground and rolls inwards towards the mid-line of the body. As a result, this causes your tibia (lower leg) to internally rotate, your knee to flex and your same side hip to flex and internally rotate. This creates a big stretch and load to your butt muscles.
The chain-reaction process of this event happened as a result of your heel having the proper motion to roll inward. When the heel doesn’t have the proper motion, your body has to create motion somewhere else in your body. Many times our bodies require our low back and knees to pick up the slack. When this occurs, we start to develop overuse injuries in those joints and our bodies compensate.
Below we’ve put together 3 simple strategies you can do at home to help your feet function better. Before trying these techniques do 5 body weight squats. Apply these techniques and do 5 more body weight squats. You should notice a big difference in the amount of stress in your low back and knees.
Lacrosse Ball Subtalar Joint Mobilization x2-3 minutes on each leg
3D Calf Stretch x8-12 reps in each direction and then switch legs
3D Single Leg Balance Reach x8-12 reps in each direction and then switch legs.