You’ve likely never considered adding ‘stronger feet’ to your list of what makes an athlete great. “We talk a lot about how important it is for a young athlete to be strong,” says Dr. Michele LaBotz, TrueSport Expert and sports medicine physician. “But we almost always ignore feet.”
Unless the sport you’re involved with is foot-focused (like ballet), you’ve likely never considered the importance of the many bones and muscles that make up the foot, but evidence suggests that bringing foot strength to the forefront will help prevent injuries and improve overall athleticism. But how can a coach implement foot-specific protocols? Here, LaBotz explains why and how to bring some focus to feet.
First, it’s important to understand that for the last few decades, shoe sales have led the discussion and research around feet, and that discussion was all about comfort and support. “When it comes to the foot, it tends to be all about finding the right shoes, getting the right orthotics, and supporting and cushioning the foot,” says LaBotz. “But lately, there’s been a push to actually build up the intrinsic muscles of the foot rather than simply cushion them.”