This post is all about foot care. This is something I’ve recently read up on a lot, and realized what a massive deal this should be for players. The human foot has 26 bones and 33 joints, and is often neglected, and in what is seen as relief often moved into flip-flops post-game and post-practice, and that is actually the worst thing you can do. Katy Bowman has a blog post from last year (which I will include in the notes) which outlines exactly what happens to one’s feet from wearing flip flops for extended periods of time.
Without any backing on the heel, your toes are always clenching to compensate in order to keep the flip flop on. That clenching causes tension and can lead to many different trigger spots and shortening of the plantar fascia. As a player’s primary and most responsive connection to the ground this can eventually lead to, or magnify ankle immobility, which will eventually work its way up the chain --- knee—hip—back, etc.
Pay attention to your feet and when you foam roll post and/or pre-practice, workout or game……grab a lacrosse ball and roll that thing on the bottom of your foot. In the videos included you will see the various ways to really roll out the bottom of the foot and release your plantar fascia. As with foam rolling, it is as basic as exploring your own body and muscles and when you find that point of pain known as a ‘trigger point’ really stay on that and even try and put some more pressure on it to release the tension. If it is extremely painful in the beginning that is a good thing and you know you have some work to do, spend 3-5 minutes on each foot every day and you will see great benefit and relief.
In recent years the importance of rest and recovery and incorporating this in proactive and effective ways has really come to light. Whether it’s making sure you approach sleep the right way (consistent bed times nightly, blackout blinds, reducing blue-light exposure), recovery nutrition or myofascial release all play an integral role in reaching peak performance for the serious athlete. Once you spend some time really working out your feet and toes, you realize how much damage the constant bracing, high heel-toe drop and reliance on “arch-support” have caused over the years. The more time you can spend in bare-feet and connecting the feet to the rest of your body instead of being laced and locked into stiff shoes the better.
Hope this opens some further research for coaches and athletes, there is lots of great information out there!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQOKAkksdHw – Kelly Starrett on flip-flops
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOJPKu7DUfU – Lacrosse Ball rolling 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsELllw7XsQ – Lacrosse Ball rolling 2