Rebuilding my feet: I miss my tango heels!!

Update

Six weeks in a boot certainly affected my foot and ankle strength! A month after getting out of the boot, I am still not back in my beloved heels. Luckily, my chiropractor and trainer (same person) understands that heels are in my future, and has given me strict instructions about what I will have to be able to do before he OKs stilettos.

Even if you have not had a foot injury, if you have had trouble wearing heels before, you might try the exercises I have described below, to build your foot and ankle strength. If you tend to roll in or out, or end up on your toes when you turn, these will help build your arch muscles up to help with stability.

Exercises

The easy version: one-minute balance

The first exercise was to balance for a minute on the half roller, on one foot. No problem! I do this all the time...before the injury. It took a week of doing this to be able to get up to a whole minute without pitching off.

The important parts:

  • Make sure to spread your toes
  • Keep both margins of the foot down (you can see here that I am still tipping away from my big toe a bit)
  • Breathe! If you don't breath, you fall off by 30 seconds (ask how I know).
 Balancing for 1 minute on the half roller, easy side up.

Balancing for 1 minute on the half roller, easy side up.

Slightly harder: roll with the punches

Once I could balance on the easy side, I turned over the roller. After two weeks of practicing, I can now stay up for a minute. As you can see, my big toe is still not spreading out the way it should, so those muscles are not completely back to where they were before. I am wearing Correct Toes (toe separators) to help train my toe back to a good position, but not in this picture.

Important points:

  • Same as above, spread toes, keep margins of foot down, and breathe.
  • Make sure that you are stacking your hips above your foot correctly and engaging your core.
  • Keep your hips in balance front-to-back and side-to-side. Movement is OK: don't clench anything!
 Balancing for 1 minute on the half roller, hard version.

Balancing for 1 minute on the half roller, hard version.

Look Ma, no hands!

Now that I can balance with one foot, I have added some kind of surfing thing to the mix. This requires me to get a good lineup for my feet, and then to (eventually) be able to touch my back knee down and stand back up while doing this. THAT is not happening yet, although if I use the flat side of the roller against the floor, and can do about 10 reps of knee half-way to the floor.

 BOTH feet on the roller, hard side up.

BOTH feet on the roller, hard side up.

Total alignment

This was fun to try to photograph solo. You can't see the mouse on the table :-) I had to balance, hold the stick, get aligned AND shoot the photo at the same time. This is the same exercise as above but showing the whole picture

Important points:

  • Feet should be a forearm's length apart.
  • Weight should be shared between the feet (I was putting too much weight on my good foot and my quads were sore the first time I tried ten of these).
  • Back of head and back of sacrum should make a perpendicular line to the floor (can check with a mirror/friend and a dowel).
  • Core is working like crazy.
  • From this pose, you gradually bring the back knee to the floor and back up.
 VERY important to keep the head and butt on a plumb line, perpendicular to the ground.

VERY important to keep the head and butt on a plumb line, perpendicular to the ground.