Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Time To Stabilization & Athlete Injury Risk

dancerA majority of my podiatry practice is built around treating athletes and chronic athletic injuries.   From professional dancers to marathon runners all athletes – regardless of sport or art – require the same thing – rapid stabilization for optimal loading and energy transfer.  

Why is rapid stabilization so important? 

During dynamic movement such as walking, running or jumping the ability to rapidly load and unload impact forces requires a baseline of stabilization.   With a rate of impact forces coming in at < 50 ms during walking and < 20 ms during running it is no wonder the rate of stabilization must be fast!

To put this a little bit more in perspective.   Our fast twitch muscle fibers don’t reach their  peak contraction till about 50 – 70ms.   So if impact is coming in at rate < 20 ms during running and your hip / knee / ankle and foot are not already stable before you strike the ground – it is too late!     It physiologically is not possible to react to impact and stabilize fast enough.

A client or athlete who is reacting to impact forces will often present with ITB syndrome, runner’s knee, peroneal tendinitis, stress fractures, shin splints – and that’s just naming a few!

Considering Time to Stabilization (TTS)

In my workshops I often say that “we are only as strong as we are stable” or that “stabilityacle is the foundation through which strength, force and energy is generated or transferred”.

The precision, accuracy and anticipation of stabilization must be so well programmed into the nervous system that peak stability is happening before contact with the ground.   This is referred to pre-activation and is associated with a faster TTS.

The opposite of pre-activation stabilization is reactive stabilization and is how many – if not most – of my patients or people in general are moving.   When we think of the rate of neuromuscular coordination even a small delay (think milliseconds) will result in tonic (exaggerated) muscle contractions, micro-instability and inefficient loading responses eventually leading to neuromuscular and connective tissue fatigue and injury.

So how can you improve client and athlete TTS?

1. Pre-activate base to center stabilization pathways aka foot to core sequencing

This is THE basis to EBFA Certifications Barefoot Training Specialist and BarefootRx.   With our feet as our base the activation and engagement of our feet to the ground is key to center or core stabilization.    Fascially the feet and core are connected through the Deep Front Line and must be integrated and sequenced as part of a proper warm-up or movement prep.

To learn more about foot to core sequencing please view HERE

2. Consider surface science to optimize foot feedback

All surfaces are designed differently with certain surfaces actually blocking and damping IMG_1753the critical proprioceptive input between foot and ground.    When we think of softer surfaces and mats research has shown a direct correlation between softer surfaces and delayed / prolonged loading responses.

Harder surfaces.  Surfaces that allow the transmission of vibration.  And surfaces with textures allow more accurate and precise proprioceptive input.   Thus led to the innovation of Naboso Technology by EBFA Founder Dr Emily Splichal

Ideally if Step 1 – pre-activation of our stabilization pathway could be done on a Naboso surface this would be ideal.    More information can be found at www.nabosotechnology.com

3. Footwear to allows optimal feedback and foot function

If follow Step 1 & 2  and activate the neuromuscular system barefoot and from the ground up we then want to ensure this carries over as soon as we put on our shoes and begin our sport or activity.

Imagine if you activate the proper neuro pathways but then put your client into a thick cushioned shoe.  This essentially shuts off and defeats the purpose of Step 1 & 2.   We need IMG_1767to ensure a proper shoe is worn to allow this carry over into sport.    So think flexible, minimal cushioning. possible textured insoles (check out Naboso Insoles launching Spring 2017)

Additional ways to begin to train pre-activation training and shortening the TTS is covered in our EBFA Certifications.    From the ground up landing techniques, foot to core sequencing, single leg decelerations + more are critical to injury prevention and optimal performance.

To learn more about EBFAs Certifications and workshops coming up near you please visit www.ebfafitness.com     Our workshops can be found in over 30 countries and taught in over 12 languages.

Isn’t it time for your clients and athletes to become BAREFOOT STRONG!

 

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Barefoot Science

The Barefoot Advantage: Understanding Surface Science

footwearscienceIt’s been well accepted that footwear changes the proprioceptive input between foot and ground.   Despite consumer associations between cushion and comfort, a 1997 study by Robbins et al. has demonstrated that increased cushion in shoes actually decreases foot position sense and alters overall stability.   This same study by Robbins et al. further demonstrated that the ideal shoe for improving balance and stability is a thin, hard-soled shoe.

From Shoes to Surfaces

We can take the concept of stiffness and cushion from shoes to surfaces.  When it comes to surface science and innovation much attention has been given on the topic of landing techniques and surface stiffness.  Similar to shoes, when it comes to surfaces – stiffness wins again!

Surfaces vibrate and deform upon contact with the degree of vibration being dependent on surface stiffness.   Anyone who has taken a workshop with EBFA should remember that vibration is how our foot proprioceptors and nervous system knows how hard we are stirking the ground.  This information is critical to optimizing landing technique and the subjecquent loading response.

matA review article by Marinsek et al. found that the ideal mat for optimal landing techniques in elite gymnasts was a stiffer mat that not only created vibrations but also had the capability of damping the excess impact forces.   Marinsek et al. further emphasized the need for pre-activation muscle tension occurring up to 170ms before foot contact.  This concept which is often research by Nigg et al. is a critical component to the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certificiaion by EBFA.

Proprioceptive Responses to Texture

Another feature of surface design that must be considered, especialy when it comes to barefoot training, is texture.

Texture perception is one of the stimuli unique to the small nerve proprioceptors of the plantar foot.   A key thing to remember when it comes to texture is that not all texture is the same!

A 2011 study by Hatton et al. set out to find the most effective texture when it comes totexture improving proprioceptive feedback from the foot.   Hatton et al. compared two different shapes and sizes of texture (pictured right).

What was fascinating is that Texture 1 improved balance and stability while Texture 2 actually threw off balance!

It is important to note that the greatest improvement in balance with Texture 1 was when the subjects eyes were closed.   The reason for this observation is that when you take away one of the input systems (eyes, ears, joints, skin) the nervous system seeks out the other input systems.   In this case it was the plantar foot that was over-recruited to maintain balance.

Application to Practice

To recap some of the features you want to look for in a surface especially when barefoot training or during barefoot sports include:

  • Stiffness – to allow optimal vibrations
  • Damping – to offset the excess vibration during dynamic movement
  • Texture  – to uniquely stimulate the small nerve proprioceptors in the plantar foot

Naboso Technology launches into Surface Innovation 

We are extremely proud to announce that the newly launched Naboso Technology created by EBFA Global includes all these surface science features.   From the unique patent-pending material of the Naboso Yoga Mat to our Naboso Flooring (coming soon!) we are changing the way fitness, performance and rehab looks at surface science.

To learn more about Naboso Technology or to order your Naboso Yoga Mat please visit www.nabosotechnology.com

In health,

Dr Emily Splichal

Founder EBFA Global

http://www.ebfaglobal.com

 

References

Hatton, A.  Standing on Textured Surfaces: Effect on Standing Balance in Healthy Older Adults (2011). Age Ageing 43: 363 – 368.

Marinsek, Miha. Basic Landing Characteristics and their Applications in Artistic Gymnastics. 2(2): 59-67.

Robbins, S.  The Effect of Footwear Midsole Hardness and Thickness on Proprioception and Stability in Older Men (1997).  J Testing Evaluation 25(1): 143 – 148

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Barefoot Science

Are you barefoot with a purpose? The science behind intentional foot activation

The dust has settled.

Gone are the days of viral debates and forums on the benefits vs. risks of barefoot running.  Newspapers such as the New York Times have shifted their focus away from ripping into minimalist shoes and Vibram’s lawsuit is “old news”.

With no more talk about barefoot running – does this mean that benefits of “barefoot” cease to exist?

Far from so!

squatIt is finally time to shift the direct association made between the words “barefoot” and “barefoot running”.   To much of my surprise people STILL think that EBFA’s Education is centered on “barefoot running” despite our Certifications being called Barefoot TRAINING Specialist® and BarefootRx®.

It is time to expand our minds – set aside pre-conceptions and images of people running on concrete without shoes – and take a moment to understand and EXPERIENCE the power of training barefoot.

For those who are yet to experience the power of the plantar foot – I warn you – your life and your movements will forever be changed.

I’m not kidding.

The Evolution of Barefoot Strong

B-barefoot-strong-yellowBack in 2009 when I first started lecturing on barefoot training my focus was primarily on the direct stimulation of the skin on the bottom of the feet and it’s role in balance.  It’s funny when I look back at my old presentations.   I have to laugh at how LIMITED my perspective was back then.  Sure I saw the proprioceptors in the plantar skin – but I wasn’t even scraping the surface of how powerful the foot is in movement and performance!

The pivotal point in the Evolution of Barefoot Strong was when I actually stepped away from (meaning quit) my surgical residency training to go back to graduate school and get my Master’s in Human Movement.   To leave a medical residency in the middle of training was a decision that could have potentially cost me the ability to ever practice medicine – but in my heart I knew I needed to do this.   In my journey I knew I had to connect some of the dots in my knowledge and perspective on human movement.  (For those who are curious I later when back to complete my residency training and practice medicine in NYC)

These next 2 years were dedicated to the exploration of human movement as it relates to foot, barefoot science and fascial integration.  The research I uncovered took my Podiatric Medical Degree to a level I never dreamed possible.  With this new in-depth knowledge of foot fascial integration, neurology and neuromuscular coordination I knew I was onto something powerful.  What I discovered was that the biggest secret to being barefoot – is that you have to be barefoot WITH A PURPOSE.

What does this mean?

Science of Intentional Foot Activation

footyogaThere is a powerful interconnection between the deep foot stabilizers (intrinsics) and the deep core stabilizers (pelvic floor, deep rotators etc) – I refer to this as our local stabilization pathway.  What fascinating is that in yoga they refer this as Pada Bandha (foot) and Mula Bandha (pelvic floor).

In dynamic movement such as walking the only contact point between the body and the ground is our foot – therefore foot stability is crucial to proper transfer of impact forces.   When it comes to quickly and efficiently transferring these impact forces during walking – the faster our feet and core can “talk” to each other the better our walk, the decreased the risk of injury and the more efficient our gait (less energy).

The exercise for integration our feet and core is called short foot.   I know I speak about short foot A LOT – but it is THAT important of an exercise.    Check out the video below on how to integration foot to core sequencing via short foot.

Want to take it beyond walking?

Every exercise or injury rehab program – regardless of region of the body – will benefit from foot to core sequencing.   Be it shoulder stability or s/p ACL surgery – all joints in the body require fast pre-activation of the deep core stabilizers.   Since our feet are the only contact with the ground the feet actually play a critical role in how quickly we can stabilize the core when standing or moving closed chain.   (Think pitcher throwing a ball or a tennis player swinging a racket)

So the next time you go to the gym or have you weekly rehab session if you are already training barefoot – I challenge you to ask yourself.   Are you barefoot with a purpose?   Are you integrating an intentional foot contraction during your exercise?

I recommend start your session by integrating 5 minutes of foot to core exercises (see video above) or integrate it throughout the exercises (think kettle bell swings).

Want to take it EVEN further?   Learn the science of foot assessments, foot-typing and reflexive stabilization by attending a Barefoot Training Specialist® or BarefootRx® Rehab Specialist Certification!

Find a workshop near you! 

Stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily Splichal

Founder EBFA

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Local Reflexive Stabilization & Movement Efficiency

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 12.24.22 AMWhether we consciously realize it or not we all want to move better, feel stronger and stay pain-free.   We all seek the ability to do the activities we love – whether that be going for a long walk with a loved one or competing in an obstacle race.

It is my mission to help professionals and patients alike achieve what I call movement longevity by better understanding the concepts of movement efficiency and local reflexive stabilization.

What does it mean to be efficient?

To be efficient means to effectively use energy.   When we think about bipedal locomotion the energy that we need to get from Point A to Point B is found from the ground we walk on.

Bipedal locomotion or walking is considered a series of falls with each foot contact (foot fall) providing the energy needed to take the successive step.   As our foot contacts the ground we are encountering 1 – 1.5x our body weight in impact forces. These impact forces are converted from potential energy to elastic energy, providing a recoil effect to bring the swing leg forward.

forceWhen we look at the force peak curve of a walking gait cycle what’s quite fascinating and perhaps under appreciated is that even though our body brings in 1 – 1.5x our body weight in energy (heel contact) we actually release 2 – 2.5x our body weight when we push off (forefoot propulsion)!

What this means is that our body is somehow is able to double the energy that it is provided with!   How is this possible?   And why is this even important?

Understanding Fascial Elasticity

The concept I described above is referred to as the catapult effect and truly is the meaning of movement efficiency.   To move efficiently does not meant to just take in energy and release it with little loss of energy.   It actually means to take in energy and double it!

This ability to double potential energy allows a basketball player to slam-dunk a ball or a triple jump jump 50+ feet.  This catapult effect lies within our connective tissue – namely our myofascia.

To effectively understand the catapult effect and the oading response during bipedal locomotion one must first understand what’s referred to as the Muscle Tuning Theory .   This theory was researched and developed by Dr Benno Nigg out of the University of Calgary Canada.

What the Muscle Tuning Theory demonstrates is that in order to effectively damp the impact forces encountered during initial contact we must have sufficient foot and ankle stiffness.   We must contact the ground with enough foot and ankle isometric contractions to allow the rapid loading of impact forces (potential energy) into our connective tissue.

Because our foot and ankle muscles are firing isometrically during the loading response what actually allows the joint movements of deceleration (ankle dorsiflexion, STJ eversion, tibial internal rotation) is the elasticity of our connective tissue (fascia / tendons).

normal-foot-pronation-at-midstance-sample_view
This fascial loading is dependent on the degree of elasticity or rubber band effect in our connective tissue.   However simply having fascial elasticity is not enough.  In order to effectively load our fascia with potential energy we must first achieve sufficient fascial tension.

Fascial Tension = Stability

If I were to say that to have fascial elasticity we must first have fascial tension – this may seem contradictory.   How can our fascia be both elastic and stiff at the same time!

What if I were to word it another way.   In order to effectively load impact forces (potential energy) we must be STABLE!   Let me take it even further with this statement – Stability is the foundation through which power, force and resistance is generated.

In other words to move efficiently and transfer energy we must have sufficient stability.   In the words of Dr Perry Nickelston I think that deserves a BOOM!

This above statement is what I try to achieve in all of my patients.   To help my patients become pain-free I know I must teach them to achieve proper stability.   But not only do we need proper stability – we need deep joint stability.   And not only do we need deep joint stability – we need fast deep joint stability.

This is what I refer to as Local Reflexive Stabilization.   Local – referring to our local stabilizing muscles and reflexive meaning fast or subconscious.

Understanding Local Reflexive Stabilization 

The concept of local vs. global stabilizers was first introduced by Dr Vladamir Janda and then later expanded upon by Shirley Sahrmann.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 12.05.53 AMThe  following image demonstrates some of the biggest differences between local and global stabilizers.   What’s fascinating is that when we consider the Deep Front Fascial Line we can see it is formed by all the local stabilizers.   The foundational concept in EBFA’s Barefoot Training Specialist Certification is to train stiffness and reflexive sequencing between the foot and core.

By intelligently tapping into our local stabilization system we will find ourselves with enhanced stability – and therefore better be able to load impact forces during dynamic movements.

Because it is so easy to slide out of local stabilization and into global stabilization the below 3 exercises should be used as a daily reset or activation for the local reflexive stabilization needed for bipedal locomotion.

3 Way to Enhance Local Reflexive Stabilization

Step 1 – Diaphragmatic Breathing

Step 2 – End Range Expiration (with pelvic floor activation if possible)

Step 3 – Diaphragmatic Breathing / End Range Expiration & Short Foot

To learn more about EBFA’s education and our Barefoot Training Specialist Certification please visit http://www.ebfafitness.com

As always – stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily 

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Barefoot Biomechanics, Barefoot Science

From Primal to Bipedal : Why we must lock in our rolling and crawling with foot to core sequencing

Rolling and crawling are currently some of the hottest trends in fitness and corrective exercise programming.   From Animal Flow to Original, health and fitness professionals are exploring the power of primal movement patterning for correcting movement dysfunction and achieving optimal function.

We actually happened to just do a webinar on this exact topic with Stop Chasing Pain’s Dr Perry Nickelston which we encourage you to catch the archived version on the EBFA YouTube Channel HERE!

baby-development-web

Babies Sitting, Crawling, and Walking

Why rolling and crawling are such powerful stabilization techniques is that they bring us back to our neurodevelopmental origins.   Back when we were first introducing our nervous system to the demands of movement – millions of neuromuscular pathways were being developed.

These neurological pathways soon become the joint stability and coordination needed to sit upright, resist gravity and ultimately put one foot in front of the other.

What movement specialists are starting to realize is that by bringing it back down to the ground and reducing the demands of gravity, clients and patients are better able to restore stabilization patterns.

Test Your Primal Stability 

One example of crawling stability is the quadruped position.  In Animal Flow they call this position The Beast.

animal-flow-fitness_1394828697

Begin on your hands and knees with your shoulders directly over your wrists, hips over knees, neutral spine and feet flexed.

After creating proper alignment on these 6 points of contacts, engage the deep abdominals and lift the knees 1 cm off of the ground.   Immediately you should start to feel all your stabilizers engage.

Richard Scrivener of Animal Flow recommends holding this 4 point Beast for 45 seconds to test stability.

From Primal to Bipedal 

Despite the current popularity in rolling and crawling I think that it is important for movement specialists to remember that we are still bipedal animals and that simply training primal patterns is not enough to restore the demands of bipedal locomotion.

One of the biggest differences between primal movements and bipedal movements is the degree of impact forces encountered with every step that we take.   When walking each time our foot contacts the ground we are encountering 1 -1.5 x our body weight in impact forces that are entered at a rate of < 50 milliseconds.

To effectively and efficiently load these impacts forces over and over (sometimes over 10,000 times a day!) requires fast and accurate stability.

Now although we were training stability in our primal patterning that stability was not at the rate nor was it specific to the demands of bipedal foot contact.

Foot to Core Sequencing 

This is where foot to core sequencing comes into our programming.

walking-barefoot-298x232I refer the foot to core sequencing we use in the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification as the critical step in locking in stability.

Why do we want to lock in our stability with foot to core sequencing?

Here are a couple powerful reasons:

  1.  The foot is the only contact point between the body and the ground which means this complex structure is the neurological gateway between impact forces and stabilization.
  2. Fascial sequencing exists via the Deep Front Line connecting the plantar foot with the deep hip and pelvic floor.   Studies have shown that by training the foot to core sequencing you can begin to establish feed forward, pre-activation sequences to enable faster foot to core stability
  3. Thousands of small nerve proprioceptors on the bottom of the foot detect the vibrations of impact forces making the bare foot the gateway to understanding how hard we are striking the ground and how quickly our foot to core sequencing needs to occur

Training Foot to Core Sequencing

The simplest exercise to train foot to core sequencing is via an exercise called short foot.  For those who follow my work probably new I was going to say this!

A few tips with cueing and integrating short foot.

  1.  Start with pelvic floor activation and identification if the client or patient is unfamiliar with how to engage these muscles.   Video on pelvic floor activation is HERE
  2. Stand up and find short foot.  In those clients familiar with short foot immediately begin to cue that they start with the pelvic floor engagement then add in short foot The video on how to do short foot is HERE
  3. Begin to coordinate the breathe with short foot / pelvic floor sequencing ensuring that the engagement happens on the exhalation.   I prefer the breathe to be relaxed and not forced exhalation but natural deep breathing that involves the entire thoracic cavity with lateral ribcage expansion.
  4. Begin to integrate foot to core sequencing in single leg exercises such as those listed HERE

Want to learn more about the benefits of foot to core sequencing and the Barefoot Training Specialist Certification please visit http://www.ebfafitness.com

Finally – as always – stay barefoot strong!

Dr Emily

 

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Myofascial Energy Transfer & Movement Efficiency

When we walk, run, jump or do any dynamic movement there is a fascinating interaction that occurs between the body and the ground.  This interaction may only take a mere milliseconds but it provides the energy source needed for efficient human movement.

Upon ground contact the body encounters impacts forces which are detected by the plantar foot (and sometimes palmar hand) and quickly converted into potential energy.

What happens next is critical to how effectively you take your next step.  Even before your foot contacts the ground the nervous system is preparing for impact.  This preparation is achieved through what’s called stiffness.

Stiffness is a requirement for movement efficiency

The stiffer your foot & ankle are upon contact the quicker you will be able to load and
unload the potential energy contained within these impact forces.   In fact research has shown that it is foot and ankle stiffness that actually translates to running speed.   A 2002 study by Brett et al. found that sprinters who could generate the greatest stiffness had the fastest acceleration.

So how do we create this stiffness needed upon foot contact?

The answer lies within the integrated relationship between our muscles and fascia.

Myofascial Tensioning = Stiffness

picAll of our muscles contain a deep interconnected myofascial web that is continuous with the surrounding tendons and ligaments.  This myofascial web runs from around the muscle as a whole (epimysium) to around the muscle fascicles (perimysium) and finally around the individual muscle fibers (endomysium).

Each of these individual facial layers have muscle fibers inserting onto them making their relationship dynamic – as well as one that is necessary for movement efficiency.

The way our body creates stiffness is through isometric contractions.  Isometric contracts create tension through this myofascial web – especially through the perimysium.    Why the perimysium is important to stiffness and energy transfer is that studies have shown that it is this layer of facia that contains the highest concentration of myofibroblasts.  Myofibroblasts are the cells that contain the contractile potential for elastic energy transfer.

This process of isometric contraction leading to fascial tension is what Dr Nigg refers to as the Muscle Tuning Theory and what EBFA refers to as fascial tensioning.

Fascial Training Beyond Foam Rolling

The health and fitness industries have done a great job at bringing myofascial or trigger point release to the forefront however we cannot stop there.   Our fascia requires attention beyond simply foam rolling.

To achieve optimal movement efficiency our fascia needs to be trained to create tension or stiffness – a stiffness that must actually be pre-activated before our foot contacts the ground.   In addition our fascia needs to be elastic or have a rubber band effect to it.   This can be trained through rhythmic movements such as tai chi, gyrotonics or many of the exercises we do in the BARE® Workout.

To explore the concept of fascial tensioning a little bit more please check out the video HERE

I also encourage you to check out EBFA’s Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification!

http://www.ebfafitness.com

Stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily

 

References:

Brett et al.   Leg strength and stiffness as ability factors in 100m sprint running, J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 42(3): 274 – 281. (2002)

Schliep, et al. Active fascial contractility, Structural Integration 2006

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

The Future of Proprioceptive Training | Small Nerve Stimulation

UnknownWhen you hear the words “proprioceptive training” what comes to mind?

If you do a Google image search for these two words you will get hundreds of pictures demonstrating balance exercises on unstable surfaces.   Despite the popularity of these unstable surfaces how effective are they for improving balance or proprioception?

Surprisingly, not as good as their manufacturers would like us to believe.

In this article I challenge you to question the effectiveness of unstable surfaces in improving joint stability and if perhaps there is a more effective technique for improving proprioceptive awareness.

What is proprioception?

Often confused with kinesthetic awareness, proprioception is our internal messaging which drives our movements.   For example proprioceptors within our joint capsule provide the nervous system information on joint position which is used to control our movements.

Meanwhile kinesthetic awareness refers to our ability to navigate space and an awareness of how we move.   One such example would be if you are doing a box jump. To know how high to jump as to not clip the foot requires kinesthetic awareness.

Rate of Nervous System Responses

When it comes to controlling movements our nervous system plays a role in how fast the stimuli or sensory information comes into the central nervous system – as well as how quickly the motor response is sent back down to the peripheral nervous system.

We will see that the limiting facto in controlling movement is sensory input. This means that the faster the nervous system can sense the stimuli, the faster and more precise our movements will be.

The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

Unknown

Since it is our peripheral nerves which respond to the stimuli, understanding how this system is broken down is important to creating the most effective programming.

The PNS can be broken down into sensory nerves and motor nerves.   If we look at the tibial nerve (the nerve that supplies the skin / muscles of the plantar foot) 3x as many branches off of this nerve are sensory vs. motor. Of these sensory nerves 4x as many branches are small nerves vs. large nerve.

Nerve size matters when it comes to rate at which the nerves respond to stimuli.   Research has demonstrated that small nerves create a faster response when detecting inversion ankle moments.   In addition research has shown that these small nerves which are found primarily on the plantar skin play an important role in quiet stance.

The Future of Proprioception Training 

As we consider the future of proprioceptive training we want to remember that response time is very important to the precision of movements.   Many of the unstable surfaces we associate with proprioceptive training are actually examples of large nerve (or slower) proprioceptive training.

Therefore if we consider time we must think small nerve stimulation for faster proprioceptive responses.   To create small nerve proprioceptive programming we must know what tissue contains small nerves and what are the most effective ways to stimulate these small nerves.

Small Nerve Proprioceptive Rich Tissue

For anyone who has ever taken one of my workshops knows that the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are rich in small nerve proprioceptors.   This is one of the greatest reasons why barefoot training is so important for all individuals.

Interestingly there is an even more dense small nerve proprioceptive tissue.   Can you guess what it is?

Your fascia!

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.09.49 PMFascia is a highly proprioceptive rich tissue with current research demonstrating that many of the sensory nerves found in fascia are small nerve and free nerve endings.   This is quite fascinating as it feeds into the speed at which are fascia is able to help control and stabilize for movement.

Another interesting fact about fascia is that it has 10x as many sensory nerves when compared to our muscles.   This means that when we exercise and move we are actually “feeling our fascia” – not “feeling our muscles”.

The baseline tone of our fascia actually allows us to better perceive movements and what is referred to as joint position sense.

Small Nerve Barefoot Fascial Training

This is the foundation to all barefoot movements taught through the EBFA Certifications.     By integrating the barefoot stimulation with foot to core fascial tensioning we are able to more effectively train and rehab our clients.   I believe that fascial tensioning is the future of proprioceptive training!

Want to learn more about our education programs and the science of barefoot stimulation please visit www.ebfafitness.com

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