In 2018, my youngest daughter Lily came into this world with Bi-lateral Hip Dysplasia and Neurological Left Talipes (Club Foot). Her left leg and foot are shorter than the right and she has very little nerve activity going into her Tibialis Anterior Muscle and Peroneal, so is left with a foot drop.
As her mother and a Pilates and Movement teacher, I embarked on a mission to gather knowledge about feet, seeking exercises and rehabilitation techniques that could potentially benefit her in the future.
Although Lily is still too young to learn these methods, my passion for this subject grew immensely.
During my search, I stumbled upon the FEET-NESS™ Instructors course led by the incredibly talented teacher and practitioner, Ilaria Cavagna, in New York.
FEET-NESS™ turned out to be the workout I never knew I needed, and my clients are absolutely enamored with it.
This program focuses on posture, starting from the feet, and serves as an educational platform that fosters an understanding of the connection between our feet and the rest of our body.
We utilise a wide range of equipment and props to engage the muscles in our feet, but the Rescue Loop has proven to be a true game changer.
By exercising our feet, we unlock numerous benefits, including the reduction of foot and ankle pain, the improvement of overall foot health, and the enhancement of stability in both our feet and body.
Correctly executed exercises can also boost agility, ankle stability, and joint alignment. Furthermore, exercising barefoot can help realign feet that may have changed shape over time due to footwear, significantly impacting our stability.
With a variety of equipment and props at our disposal, we engage and strengthen the muscles in our feet, legs, pelvis and upwards throughout the kinetic chain, ultimately transforming our overall well-being.
The Rescue Loop, in particular, has become a beloved tool, revolutionising our approach to foot health.
The wonderful rescue loop is available from FEET-NESS™ click here to order. You'll also receive an instructional booklet with some of the exercises you can do with it.
You can also come along to one of my fabulous Pilates classes, where FEET-NESS™exercises are incorporated into every class and you can ensure that I will guide you through doing them properly.
During my classes, you will discover exercises that ......
And there is so much more.
Here are a few of my favourite exercises we do with the rescue loop and a few exercises that you can do at home without this amazing tool.
To increase circulation and restore proper range of motion at the foot/ankle complex.
Proper range of motion of the ankle, calf muscles elongation, tibialis activation, and blood circulation.
Sitting on the floor with straight legs, hip width apart.
Slightly pull the feet
laterally (sideways) so that you can maintain a light degree of tension at the spring:
Move the feet together from full flexion (dorsiflexion) to full extension (plantar flexion).
To increase circulation and ankle stabilisation.
Sitting with straight legs, ankles in maximun
(toes toward the shins).
• Open the feet in external rotation: Lengthen the spring moving the top of the feet away from each other. Feel the movement originating from the hips. Make those crystals shine.
• You can execute with a continuous action of separation and release, or keep the spring in tension for 3-5 seconds and then release.
• Make sure you maintain the maximum
dorsiflexion position at the ankles throughout the exercise.
To activate the muscles on the outside of the lower leg, those muscles that support laterally and give stability to the ankle.
Great reinforcement exercise to do while recovering from ankle sprain or to prevent it.
• Sit on the floor/mat with your heels in line with your sit bones.
• Knees are bent, legs in 90-degree position and a little opened to the side. • Feet are in dorsiflexion (toes pulled toward the shin). • Your spine is nice and tall with the top of your head reaching up to the ceiling.
• Place the foot-strap of the Rescue LOOP around the foot just below the toes.
• Put the spring in tension by
bringing the little toes toward the outside of your knees.
• Push the medial part of the foot
toward the floor.
• Maintain the dorsiflexion at the same time.
• You should feel the outside of the legs burning for the deep work that the outside muscles of your lower legs are doing.
You can put your hands on the outside of the lower leg to be able to feel the muscles activating. The tactile feedback usually helps the
To wake up the sensory receptors of the foot and improve circulation. It also creates space between your toes and increases their agility.
This stretches not only the toes but also radiates to the plantar fascia.
• Comfortably sit either on a stool or on the floor, and cross one ankle over the opposite thigh.
• Slide your fingers in between your toes and hold them there for few seconds. Your fingers are now acting like one of those sponge separators that women often use for their pedicure, just a little more intense.
• Hold the foot firmly and rotate the ankle.
• Gently force the toes in flexion and extension.
If your toes are very stiff and don’t allow the fingers to slide in
between, use a massage cream for lubrication.
Eventually the toes will loosen up.
To wake up the sensory receptors of the foot and improve circulation.
• Sit either on a stool or on the floor, and cross one ankle over the opposite thigh.
• Hold the foot with both of your hands and twist it so that the sole is almost facing you.
• As the fingers are wrapping the top of the foot, the thumbs are massaging the bottom,
digging into the sole both
medially and laterally from the ball of the foot to the heel and vice-versa.
To strengthen the front muscles in the shin and ankle.
Great to compensate for the foot/ankle position when wearing high heels.
• Sit either on a chair or on the floor.
• Place the bottom of one foot over the top of the opposite foot.
• The bottom foot executes a dorsiflexion (toes toward the shin) while the foot on top resists the action.
Make sure you always get to the maximum range of motion when you are toward the end of the action. Those last few degrees are the most important ones.
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