Barefoot Science, General, Naboso Technology

Three of the Best Ways to Strengthen the Foot Muscles

Physical inactivity is becoming a greater risk around the world, affecting more adults than ever before. Modern lifestyle relies heavily on technology. The downside of it is that it’s no longer necessary to be active to earn a living.

But the good news is, modern technology backed by scientific research can enhance and support a healthy lifestyle.

The Irony of Increased Exercise

If you do more sports activities, you must be aware of how to keep your body safe and healthy while exercising. Studies show that the most common sprains and strains are related to sports: the ankle joint accounts for 72 percent of all injuries.

How serious is this in the United States alone? Two million individuals suffer ankle injuries every year, and the cost to repair your feet muscles are far from cheap. A single sprain leads to setbacks at work, family life, and general life satisfaction.

You might recognize the initial symptoms of swelling and ankle pain when jogging excessively, or working out in the gym. If not treated, an ankle sprain can lead to secondary conditions. These include tendinitis, medial tibial stress syndrome, and medial knee pain. Up to 80 percent of patients who suffer a small ankle sprain will develop chronic ankle instability. More will experience permanent foot injury.

So how do we address this growing health problem? The best way is to ensure that while you are exercising, you are also strengthening your foot muscles. Balance, power, and strength are all factors in helping you perform physical exercises without the risk of injury. Here are three ways to do that, backed by scientific proof:

  1. Barefoot Training

Can training without sports shoes on benefit your feet muscles?  Absolutely!

Science has proven that it is far from normal for humans to be wearing closed or Barefoot Strong Covercovered shoes all day long. Shoes support our feet, but they also restrict movement. They decrease flexibility, and inhibit our muscles from performing as they should.

This is why many physical therapists recommend exercising barefoot. Look at yoga or Pilates athletes. Their agility and balance is enhanced when their feet aren’t restricted by shoes. Similarly dancers are barefoot or wear flexible shoes that promote — not inhibit — movement.

When you train barefoot, you enhance sensory stimulation, improve joint health, and optimize balance. And when you are more stable, you’re less likely to suffer injuries due to a fall. To learn more about barefoot training check out the book Barefoot Strong by Dr Emily Splichal.

  1. Short Foot Exercise

Many active people suffer from plantar fascial pain and metatarsalgia. This is often due to a weakness of the small foot muscles. Short foot exercise (SFE) or “foot doming” is one of the most effective foot exercises which can improve this. The exercise conditions your feet muscles for endurance. It requires no equipment and you can do it anywhere — even seated.

How does SFE work? Start by finding your foot tripod which is under your first toe, first img_7134.jpgtoe and heel. Lift the toes, spread them out and place them back down onto the ground. Using your intrinsic foot muscles, start to push the tips of the toes down into the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times per side. If you experience cramping, simply relax and try again later. To see a full video on how to perform SFE click HERE

In one study, short foot exercise was used to address chronic foot instability. Thirty adults were monitored during exercise for eight weeks. Scientists measured the quantitative somatosensory of joint position sense, vibration sensory thresholds, balance, and ankle instability. The group that performed the short foot exercise showed significant improvement in all the categories. SFE was more effective than regular physical therapy for treating ankle sprain patients.

  1. Texture Stimulation

Your feet can affect everything else in your body. How you exercise will directly affect the pressure on your knees, hips, low back, and neck, so it can lead to many injuries.

When exercising, pay attention to the skin on the bottom of your feet. It is critical for balance, posture, motor control and human locomotion. Using scientifically-backed texture technology during exercise protects your soles. It ensures you get the most out of your workouts, every time. Naboso Technology has both textured mats and insoles that are perfect for strengthening your feet and body.

The Naboso mat was developed by Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist Dr. Emily Splichal. It has a unique, patent-pending material based on texture research and surface science. The unique texture will stimulate your body’s nervous system through the skin on the bottom of your feet. When using it, you may notice an improvement in your Naboso Czech Picpostural control, stability and strength.

Here are three ways you can use the Naboso Mat:

  • To optimize foot stimulation during standing barefoot exercises
  • When exercising with kettlebells, sandbags, or Olympic lifting
  • While doing barefoot bodyweight exercises such as step-ups or lunges

Similarly, Naboso Insoles work by stimulating the nerves in the bottom of your feet. They not only improve balance but positively impact gait patterns, ankle proprioception and force production.

You can think of Naboso Technology like “braille for the feet”. Naboso material lets your feet “read” the ground. With every movement, you become stronger, more flexible, and empowered.

For more information about Naboso Technology, visit our website and explore our product line today.

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General, Naboso Technology

8 Ways to Manage Arch Pain

Living with constant foot pain limits your ability to do simple tasks such as running, playing sports or even just walking. Many people live with foot pain because they assume it’s just a part of life, but that isn’t the case. There are treatments available to help minimize foot pain in a safe and healthy way. The following guide walks you through eight ways to treat your foot pain naturally.

#1 – Wear Shoes that Fit Properly to Prevent Arch Pain

Wearing shoes that are too tight or too large creates excess pressure and improper support that leads to arch, toe and even ankle pain. Properly fitting shoes provide ample shoeroom for toe splay while favoring freedom of motion.

Choose shoes that hug your foot tightly on the sides without cramping your toes. Try to wiggle your toes after lacing the shoes. If wiggling is impossible or painful, the shoes are too small for you. If you notice your foot slides around in the shoes when you wear them, you need a smaller size shoe. Your feet should stay in place as you walk.

Some of our favorite shoes that support natural foot function include Xero Shoes, Vivobarefoot and Feelgrounds

#2 – Learn How to Walk Properly

To reduce pain in your feet, walking properly is essential. When walking, allow the heel of your foot to hit the pavement first, followed by the ball of your feet and finally your toes. Bend at your ankle so the amount of pressure you apply throughout your foot transitions as you roll from your heel to the balls of your feet. Keeping your feet stiff while walking causes pain and stress unnecessarily in different areas and leads to arch pain over time.

#3 – Consider Losing Weight

Unfortunately, the amount of weight on your body impacts the pain you feel in your feet immensely. Every extra pound on your body puts more stress on your feet, joints and bones. Someone who is overweight is four times more likely to have flat feetthan someone who is not. Increased weight puts increased pressure on the ball, arch and heel of the foot. This increased pressure leads to foot pain that diminishes drastically with weight loss.

Losing even a small amount of weight reduces foot pain because there is less weight to carry. If you experience foot pain, working out in a pool or doing exercises that require little to no standing is great for weight loss. Once you start to lose weight, more intense exercise is possible because there is less weight on your muscles, joints and feet.

#4 – Massage Your Foot Arches Daily

Massaging the arches of your feet improves circulation, reduces tenderness and makes walking less painful. Use your fingertips to apply pressure to the ball and arches of your foot. Applying pressure helps to loosen the muscles and provide stimulation within the foot.

Another great massage technique to try at home is massaging your foot with a tennis ball skucover_roller_rador RAD Roller.  Sit down in a chair and place the roller on the ground in front of you. Take off your shoe and place the arch of your foot on top of the roller. Push slightly on the ball with your foot and roll back and forth, applying pressure to your arch. At first, slight pain is common in the arch, but as you continue the massage, nerve stimulation occurs, allowing the muscles to loosen, which ultimately reduces pain in the arch. Repeat the process with the other foot. Massage your aches every day for maximum relief and optimal stimulation.

#5 – Use Naboso Textured Insoles to Stimulate Your Foot

Arch pain is common in the feet when proper support doesn’t occur. Shoes of today have

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Naboso 1.5 Insole

style in mind more than support. Insoles added to shoes improve support and reduce foot pain over time. Naboso textured insoles help improve foot sensitivity through nerve stimulation that can help minimize arch pain. Having proper foot support reduces the likelihood of a fall occurring and helps to improve balance. The hard construction of the insoles provides support, while the textured design promotes stimulation.

Custom orthotics often require a prescription for construction to take place, whereas the Naboso textured insoles do not. They are available in a variety of sizes to ensure an accurate fit for maximum support and comfort. It’s best to actually measure your feet rather than base the pair of insoles you buy on the size of the shoes you currently wear. This ensures the insoles fit properly and provide maximum support.

#6 – Make Stretching a Part of Your Daily Routine

Arch pain often occurs when the muscles in the foot become tight. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles and thus improve arch pain. To stretch your feet, take the time to stand with your feet side-by-side. Step one foot out in front of you while leaving the other foot in place. Gently lift and lower the toe of the foot that you stepped forward a few times. This stretches the arch of the foot to reduce muscle tightness. Repeat the process with the other foot.

If your feet hurt too badly to stand for extended periods of time, sit on the ground with your legs outstretched. Point your toes toward the sky and then attempt to point them away from you and hold the position for a few seconds. Pull your toes back toward the sky and then pull them back toward your body.

Another great stretching technique is to stand at the edge of a stair with just the tips of your toes on the stair. Allow your body weight to push the heel of your feet down as much as possible while keeping your toes in place. Lift your heels without moving your toes to stretch and strengthen the balls and arches of your feet. Exercise both feet at once or one at a time, depending on the strength of your feet. Do these stretches as often as needed for maximum pain relief.

#7 – Treat Your Feet with Natural Oils

Natural oils are great for treating muscle pain naturally. It’s important to invest in oils designed for topical use to ensure they are safe to use directly on your skin. The label on the bottle of oil states if it is safe for topical use or not. Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the foot, while reducing swelling and inflammation. Rosemary oil improves circulation throughout the foot that reduces arch tenderness and pain. Lavender oil is also anti-inflammatory and reduces muscle and joint pain.

There are many different ways to administer natural oils. Add a few drops of oil to your favorite lotion and rub it on your tender feet. Place a few drops in a foot bath and soak your feet for 30 to 40 minutes to allow the heat from the water and the natural calming properties of the oil to do their jobs.

#8 – Exercise Your Feet

Every part of your body needs regular exercise and your feet are no different. Exercising your feet strengthens them and reduces pain in the long run. Having a strong arch is essential when it comes to running or walking pain free. A short foot exercise is a great way to strengthen the small muscles that lift the arch of your foot.

To activate the short foot exercise, you focus on one foot at a time. Take one foot and IMG_7134focus on placing the heel of the foot into the ground. Then lift your toes and spread them apart. Place the toes onto the ground spread apart and focus on pushing the big toe down as much as possible. When this happens, the weight on the foot begins to transfer and shift to the toes and the heel. The arch starts to lift as you focus the weight away from it and feel the ball of the foot start to lift from the ground. Hold the position in place for 10 seconds at a time for five times per foot. Do this exercise before every workout and a few times throughout the day for maximum relief.

Strengthening the arches of your feet takes time. Be diligent when it comes to your foot health to ensure the pain in your arches doesn’t worsen over time. Do all of these steps in conjunction with one another for maximum results. It’s important to continue a stretching and strengthening regiment with your feet even after the pain decreases to ensure it doesn’t return or worsen over time.

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series, Naboso Technology

Common Causes of Arch Pain & Prevention With Foot Strengthening

Though foot arch pain is common in athletes, it can happen to anyone, whether they love exercise or enjoy living life slowly. That’s because the arches of the foot do a lot of work every day. They absorb the shock when you walk or run, and they bear your weight when you stand.

You may not notice the hard work your feet do — until you get arch pain. Many things can cause it: injury, wearing the wrong kind of footwear, excessive walking, standing improperly, and more.

Being familiar with its causes and symptoms might help you prevent it. Or, if you’re suffering from arch pain, learning about its treatment could help you prepare for a doctor’s appointment.

What Is Arch Pain?

Arch pain is discomfort, inflammation, or tenderness in the arch of the foot. It can refer to any pain located between the ball of the foot and the heel.

To be able to identify this kind of foot pain, you need to understand the role of the arches of the foot.

The Arches of the Foot

If you’ve ever walked barefoot on damp sand, you probably know what the imprint of your foot looks like. The barefoot imprint of most adults has a gap on the inner side, between the ball of the foot and the heel. That’s where the arches of the foot are. (Babies and toddlers don’t have an arch. In fact, children develop an arch when they’re 3 to 10 years old.)

Each foot has three arches: two longitudinal (across the length of the foot) and one 4108-img1transverse (across the width of the foot). The lateral longitudinal arch is on the outer side of the foot, and the medial one, on the inner side of the foot. The lateral arches act as pillars for the transverse arch.

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments make up the foot arches. Together they create a structure that supports your body weight when you stand, walk, or run. The arches act as shock absorbers, or springboards.

Here’s how they work: The longitudinal arches flatten slightly when you stand or walk, under the load of your body. They return to their original, curve shape when you lift your foot from the ground — when you remove the load. In a way, they function like a car’s suspension.

Anything that affects the arches’ position could cause discomfort and pain, and limit their function. The location of arch pain is usually in the medial longitudinal arch. But it can also be in the other two arches.

Symptoms: How Arch Pain Feels Like

Having painful feet can make it difficult to walk or exercise. Arch pain ranges in intensity from discomfort to sharp or burning pain. Its symptoms can manifest in many forms. Here’s how people may describe how they feel:

  • Sharp pain in the bottom of the foot
  • Pain in the middle of the arch
  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Arch and ankle pain
  • Tenderness in one point of the arch
  • General tenderness in the foot
  • Foot discomfort when standing for a long time
  • Heel pain when running
  • Feeling like you’re walking on a pebble
  • Pain at the top of the foot
  • Pain when extending the foot
  • Discomfort when flexing the arch

Some types of foot arch pain get worse with movement. Another type of pain is more severe in the morning and gets better during the day. The discomfort may be light and allow you to walk normally, but not run or cycle. Or, the pain can be so sharp that your heels hurt even when you stand. The intensity and type of arch pain depend on its cause.

Causes and Types of Arch Pain

Overuse, impact injuries, certain medical conditions, gaining weight, and weak feet can all cause arch pain. Even walking in improper shoes that make your arches work harder can be painful. It’s no wonder that about 80 percent of people say they have experienced a foot ailment in their life.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common causes of arch pain in adults.

Plantar Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs from heel to toes. Irritation and PFinflammation occur when the fascia stretches too much away from the heel. When this happens, you may develop plantar fasciitis. This condition leads to painful heels and arches. You may feel your foot is sore or tender under the heel or in the middle of the arch. You might also get swelling of the heel.

The severity of the pain ranges from very mild to incapacitating. Usually, the pain is worse in the morning when you get out of bed. Then, after you walk for a few minutes, the fascia stretches and the pain gets better.

One of the main causes of this kind of pain is having a faulty structure of the foot. If you have high arches or flat feet, you’re more likely to develop plantar heel pain. Other things that put strain on the plantar fascia are wearing unsupportive shoes and being overweight.

If you leave this condition untreated, the pain may increase over a few months. It may limit your ability to do daily activities such as working or exercising. It might even lead to disability. After treatment, if the cause remains, you may need to continue with preventive measures (more about these later).

Flexible Flatfoot

Flatfoot affects about 23 percent of adults, according to a study. If you have flatfoot, the longitudinal arch of the foot collapses (partially or totally). As a result, the foot sole touches the ground more than it would if you had a normal arch.

This disorder usually starts when you’re a child or teen. It gets worse as you get older. There are several types of flatfoot, one of the most common being flexible flatfoot.

One of the symptoms is overpronation. If you overpronate, you put most of the weight on the inside edge of the foot. Your foot rolls too much inward, and this increases the strain on your arch and heel. Because the arches flatten too much, they can’t properly absorb the shocks from your stride. The result may be arch pain or discomfort. You may also feel an ache in the heel and ankle.

As the body is out of alignment when you have flatfoot, you may also experience aches in your leg, knee, and hip.

There’s no agreement on the cause of flexible flatfoot. Doctors have several theories about it. They believe it might be the result of muscular imbalance, obesity, or problems with foot ligaments. The disorder sometimes runs in the family. Many people are born with flatfoot, and others develop it later in life. The causes of this condition include tendon injuries, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, and certain neuropathies.

If you think you have arch pain from flatfoot, speak to a doctor. Treatment may help relieve the symptoms.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

PTTD can lead to flattening of the foot due to overuse or weakness of the posterior tibial tendon. But unlike flexible flatfoot, which can develop either in childhood or later, PTTD develops during adulthood. Many simple but repetitive activities (for example, walking, climbing stairs, or running) can cause PTTD. Its symptoms include arch pain and swelling in one foot or both feet.

Without treatment, the condition gets worse with time. It may even lead to arthritis in the ankle. In its early stages, PTTD can cause swelling and redness, as well as pain on the inside of the foot. Later, the pain may shift to the outside of the foot and the ankle.

If you notice your foot is excessively warm or swollen, contact a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment may relieve arch pain and prevent complications from flatfoot.

Other Conditions That Can Cause Arch Pain

Apart from plantar fasciitis and flatfoot, many other conditions can make your arch hurt. Here are some examples:

  • Peripheral neuropathies.When the foot’s nerves don’t function well — due to compression, injury, or other causes — you may get sharp pain or a burning sensation in the arches of the foot.
  • Muscle spasms.Especially if you exercise, you’ve likely experienced muscle spasms or cramps. They can have many causes, ranging from dehydration to injury.
  • This disease usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect the arches of the foot. Osteoarthritis is common in older people.
  • Foot sores.Many conditions (like lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis) can cause foot sores that won’t heal, and lead to arch pain.
  • Stress fractures.The foot can suffer damage from repetitive overuse, for example, excessive exercise. Arch pain from a fracture usually gets worse with increasing activity.
  • Ligament sprain.It happens when a foot ligament twists or stretches abnormally due to an unusual movement.
  • This is an inflammation of the tendons in the foot.

There are many possible causes of arch pain. So, you might not be able to identify yours on your own. Even if you do, seeking a medical professional’s opinion is key to receiving an accurate diagnosis.

Common Treatments for Arch Pain

If the bottom of your foot hurts at the end of a busy day, or if you notice discomfort in your foot arch after exercise, some home remedies for arch pain might work:

  • Rest — to prevent further damage
  • Apply an ice pack — to reduce inflammation (pain and swelling)
  • Wear shoes with good arch support — to reduce stress on your arch
  • Use textured insoles in your shoes — to reduce foot fatigue and pain
  • Consider taking over-the-counter medicines (such as ibuprofen) — to ease pain and reduce inflammation

Oftentimes it’s wise to seek medical assistance. Treatment for arch pain depends on its cause. If the culprit is plantar fasciitis or flatfoot, your doctor may prescribe a nonsurgical treatment. In some cases, surgery may be needed.

There’s no doubt, however, that the best treatment for arch pain is prevention.

A New Approach to Prevent Arch Pain

There are many things you can do to prevent arch pain. Any personal trainer will tell you to stretch your foot and calves, and include resting periods in your workout routine. In addition, you need to focus on foot strengthening and stimulation.

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Naboso Textured Insoles

There is a new approach to prevent arch pain that relies on the natural strength of the foot and nervous system. This approach may seem as quite simplistic to be effective: textured insoles. However, research has shown that using textured insoles can prevent arch pain, as well as having a number of other benefits.

The Problem With Footwear

The nerves on the bottom of your feet send sensory information like texture, temperature, and touch to your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which uses this information to control your posture and balance. Essentially, it controls the way you stand, walk, and run by controlling your muscle response and dynamic stability.

Unfortunately, all kinds of footwear block some of this stimulation to some degree. As a result, there’s a delay in the central nervous system and the way the foot stabilizes. This can affect movement and gait.

But shoes are a reality in our society, so what can you do?

Enter Naboso Technology

Fortunately, solutions exist to increase foot nerve stimulation when you wear shoes. An effective and easy solution is using the textured insoles from Naboso Technology.

If your foot is in contact with textured insoles, you enjoy better postural control, improved stability, and reduced risk of injury.

When you walk or run, information on vibration and texture enters the foot as nervous stimulation. The brain uses this sensory feedback to maintain dynamic balance and prepare the right response to impact forces by controlling the foot’s muscles. Essentially, the brain needs sensory stimulation to control how the foot arches absorb the shock from walking or running.

So, proper sensory stimulation of the plantar foot is necessary for intrinsic muscle strength and movement control.

But, as mentioned above, wearing shoes reduces this stimulation. If the nerves of your foot don’t receive proper sensory feedback, your muscles cannot respond properly or timely to impact shocks. As a result, reduced foot stimulation weakens the foot and makes you prone to plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, or other injuries that can cause arch pain.

As you cannot walk barefoot all the time, you need an effective solution. Simply insert textured insoles into your everyday or training shoes to ensure your foot’s nerves are stimulated. By enhancing proprioceptive stimulation, Naboso Technology insoles have immediate positive effects on the neuromuscular system.

How Textured Insoles Can Prevent Ovepronation and Arch Pain

Using textured insoles has another benefit in relation to foot arch health. Research hasNeuro Insoles shown that increasing the sensory stimulation of the bottom of the foot could prevent excessive pronation. As foot pain and overpronation are connected, taking measures to avoid it may help prevent or reduce arch pain.

You can increase the sensory stimulation that the foot arch receives by wearing Naboso Technology insoles in your everyday shoes. This increased sensory stimulation decreases midfoot pronation during walking, reducing foot fatigue and preventing arch pain.

To sum up, Naboso Technology insoles have an important function in the control of overpronation, foot stabilization, muscle strength, and movement. And maintaining proper foot function and stimulation helps prevent and reduce arch pain.

Conclusion

The arches of your foot support you when you stand, walk, or run. They transfer your weight to the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons of the foot. Anything that puts too much pressure on your arches could cause arch pain. Doing excessive exercise, standing for many hours a day, having a condition that flattens the arch, and gaining weight can all lead to foot problems. Fractures, injuries, and other medical conditions can also cause pain in the foot arch.

Occasional arch pain or discomfort is common. In some cases the symptoms can go away with no treatment. Home remedies such as rest and ice might ease the pain. But other times you may need to seek medical help. Left untreated, arch pain can cause severe complications and may even result in disability. To prevent arch pain, avoid excessive strain, and wear shoes with arch support and textured insoles to make sure your foot’s nerves receive proper stimulation.

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