Are your feet and ankles running fit? Podiatrist Nicola Blower (walkrite.co.uk) has three easy tests to help you find out. This month: why you should be able to tiptoe around...
WHY DO IT?
This test reflects the foot’s ability to ‘supinate’, says Blower. ‘After pronation, which helps the foot shock absorb, the joints need to lock together again in order to provide propulsion.’
Stand at arm’s length from a wall, lightly resting your fingers against it. Standing on one leg, rise onto your tiptoes as far as you can, hold for a moment and get a friend to assess from behind or take a photo.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1/ Heel swings in (turning towards the other leg). If it doesn’t, this could indicate weakness in the tibialis posterior tendon, along the inside of the ankle.
2/ Ball of the foot sits flat on the floor. More pressure on the outside of the foot indicates stiffness at the bigtoe joint and/or weakness of the peroneal muscles along the outside of the ankle.
3/ The heel should be nice and high off the ground.
HOW TO IMPROVE
In your bare feet, slowly go up on to tiptoe on both feet, lightly touching a wall for balance. Roll your feet gently outwards (towards the outside edge of the foot) and bend fully through the big-toe joints, keeping the rest of the ball of each foot in contact with the ground. Hold for six seconds. Do 10 reps, building up to three sets per day.