Our feet are not only limbs to stand on but they provide a foundation for all of our body movements. One of the most neglected parts of a humans body in my opinion is our feet, many people don’t give them TLC until they begin to “bark” at them. Here is some lingo we use when relating to our feet. Toes are our gas, heels are our brakes and the ball of our foot is our steering wheel.
ABC’s of Feet Lingo…
Eversion vs Inversion: these are the way our feet connect to the ground. Eversion is when sole of the foot is off the midline leaning inward to the ground many flat feet or people with low arch’s have Eversion. Inversion is when the sole of the foot faces the midline which is an ideal way to have our foot interact with the ground.
Valgus vs Varius: these are another way our feet interact with the ground. Valgus is when our foot has more pressure on the inside of the foot as Varius is when it has more pressure on the outside of the foot.
Plantar vs Dorsiflexion: these are toe heel focused of interaction to the ground. Plantar flexion is when the toes are toward the ground and dorsiflexion is when the toes are toward the shin. Many times lack of ankle mobility will cause these to not have the proper % of movement. I use the Moflex to help with these 2 aspects with athletes. I like to between 25-30 degrees in both of these movements.
As we analyze movements foot decoding is a must to learn how a person stands statically on the ground. This will give you insight on how a person will more than likely move in athletic movements and gives me an opportunity to dive deeper and more efficiently when I’m evaluating athletic movements to pick up and correct movement limitations. We use a pressure mat to evaluate this with the help of RAPID sports software for evaluation of movement as well as the V1 Sports Software for athletic movements.
For instance if a baseball or softball hitter isn’t initiating movements thru the posterior chain (back side of body) more than likely we are leaking energy and power transfer efficiency. I usually can see this prior in foot decoding as these athletes tend to be more toe/quad dominant (anterior chain). Our kinetic transfer of energy and power always begins and starts with the ground if our feet and not moving thru Dorsiflexion to Plantar flexion or Valgus to Varius properly in the timing if a movement in essence it’s like a chain link will be broken along the way.
To wrap up, our feet tell us the story of not only how well we can and should be moving but it also gives insight on what might be off above it. An example if someone’s pelvis is off line one leg will be slightly higher than the other well this will cause a different interaction and ground force in a static and active motion. Learn to understand and evaluate your feet and ground connection and correct many issues. Movement over mechanics!
Written By: Rick Saggese, XFS, CSAC