The Foot Drills
By Russ Ebbets, DC
<We did the six drills at the start of each practice. Five of the six drills are done barefooted or in stocking feet. The distance covered for each drill is about 25 meters. Each drill is done once daily. The walking is done at one’s own pace. Total time for the drill with shoes off to shoes on is about four minutes. Pretty simple.
The six drills, illustrated above, are simply to walk on the outside of the foot (invert the foot), walk on the inside of the foot (evert the foot), walk with a toe-in, or pigeon-toed gain (adduct the foot), walk with the toes pointing out (a la Charlie Chaplin), and with the shoes back on, walk on the heels – this protects against bruising the heel. Done daily these six drills will eliminate shin splints, Achilles’ tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, lessen the chance of a severe ankle sprain and virtually all knee problems. (The famous Rice Study done in the early 90s found that 79% of running injuries are from the knee down).
One of the reasons I had successful teams is that my athletes made it to the competition day healthy and ready to compete. Season after season was completed with virtually no injuries. It should be noted that there are three problems with the foot drills; they are simple, they are easy, and they are free. It doesn’t involve more than taking off one’s shoes and putting one foot in front of the other. But that is easier said than done. Why do the foot drills work? There is very little muscle in the foot.
- Most of the balance and proprioceptive sense we get comes from our muscles.
- The neuromuscular pathway (the communication line) from the brain to the foot is the longest and slowest in the body. This leads to bad, or at best, poor coordination of the foot. If you doubt that, put a pen between your toes and try to write your name.