For those of you who do not know, I went to Colorado Springs last weekend for a Hockey Strength and Conditioning Clinic put on by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The two-day clinic was extremely insightful as we were being educated by the best hockey strength coaches in the country. Even though this was a hockey specific clinic, I still learned a great deal of information to not only bring back for my athletes but for my clients and all of you!
There was one specific presentation that stood out the most to me. It was about a revolutionary injury prevention practice, presented by Johnny Gillespie from Balanced Athlete. This injury prevention practice was focused primarily on the lower extremities and can applied to any individual, especially those who have weak foot arches, plantar fasciitis (even extreme cases) or have knee/hip pain.
What Johnny really emphasized is that everything starts from the feet and travels up the kinetic chain, starting with the big toe. The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and hundreds of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. There are three arches in the feet that are located on the inside, outside, and across the bottom of the foot. From there, you can really look at the human foot as a spring. When the foot hits the ground, the 33 joints expand and then they snap back up. Those arches wind up pulling force through the foot, into the leg, then the pelvic through and into the spine.
Now, with movements, the developmental stage is important and it starts when you are a baby. The movement patterns usually go in this order: you start on your back, you work your way onto your belly. Eventually you’re sitting cross legged, swaying, sitting with upright posture. Then you make your way to your knees, start to crawl, find furniture to pull yourself up, squat, sway finding balance and fall. Through time, this creates the perfect runner. As you were developing and growing, these movement patterns can sometimes get thrown off and put you into a position where you can get injured.
From knowing about the feet and the developmental stage, the primary cause of injuries include lack of spinal stability, unaddressed asymmetries, and nervous system disconnections. Reconnecting back to these fundamental movements will make you a more integrated, stronger, and flexible individual and athlete. After explaining this, we were taught on how to strengthen the foot, which I am going to give to you for you to add to your tool box!