Rolling out is something many of us have done at some point. It can help with increasing bloodflow to areas and breaking up inflammation we have accrued from working out. Many people like to roll out their quads, calves, shins, glutes, lats, pecs, neck, but many are missing an important body part: their feet! Our feet are extremely important not only inside the gym, but just on a regular everyday basis! The foot and ankle are comprised up of 26 bones, and 33 joints, so safe to say there is a lot going on down there. Our feet take a beating, they help with all kinds of movement on a day to day basis. As much as we use our feet we often neglect to take care of them. In CrossFit, they are exposed to a variety of movement patterns that put a lot of wear and tear on them. Every time you do a squat, double under, box jump, deadlift, kettlebell swing, and many other movements, your feet are involved! Ideally we try and take care of other parts of our body by performing self myofascial release (SMR). This can come in the form of rolling on a foam roller, smashing a muscle on a barbell, or mashing a tight spot on a lacrosse ball. Since our feet are involved in so many things we do on a day to day basis we should aim to take care of them as well by doing some simple SMR.
How do we take care of our feet?
Something we all can do on a regular basis is roll out our feet on a lacrosse ball. Its simple, you only need one piece of equipment, and best of all: it feels awesome! What you’ll want to do is grab a lacrosse ball and just place it on a firm surface on the ground. I would avoid thick carpets as they don’t allow you to dig in as much into the foot. Next thing you’ll do is place the arch of your foot on the ball and just apply pressure till you feel like its starting to dig into the fascia and muscles on the bottom of your foot. From there just go ahead and roll that ball around your foot for a minute or so. You can work your way up to the toes, stretch them out on the ball, you can even get the outside of the foot, the ankle, and the heel! Just move that ball around and hit those tight areas until you start to feel some relief. After smashing the foot for about 90 seconds- 2 minutes go ahead and switch over to the other foot and do the same. Smashing the foot not only feels great but it can also help relieve tight ankles, plantar fascia pain, and even shin splints. I am not saying it is a cure for these things but it can help relieve some pain and tightness associated with those things. Check out this video I made demonstrating how to smash your feet. Sorry for the portrait shot!
As CrossFitters we need to take care of our bodies and a lot of us are fairly diligent about smashing sore or tight muscles, doing extra mobility, or even active recovery. But we cannot forget about the feet which serve as the basis for a vast majority of our movements in and outside of the gym. Just taking a little bit of time out of your day to smash those feet can go a long way into maintaining healthy feet. This doesn’t need to be limited to gym days either. Go ahead and smash those feet after a long day of work or a day where you spend a lot of time on your feet. Getting into those feet after a long day can feel almost as good as a foot massage! Its a new year so lets try to make it a point to take of our feet!