With everyone talking about barefoot running and getting out of very cushy/supported shoes over the past year, I thought it would be good to review the Janda short foot posture and go over some exercise progressions that we have been using to help re-train the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
What is it?
The Janda short foot posture is a technique that Janda proposed to teach patients to shorten the longitudinal arch of the foot, thus moving the patient out of their flat foot position. The short foot posture offers a variety of benefits at the foot such as:
- Increased proprioception of the bottom of the foot
- Enhanced joint alignment up the chain at other joints
- Improved stability of the body
- Increased strength of the foot for better locomotion
As you will see in the below video, exercises with the short foot posture should follow similar progressions of any other exercise you would use:
Bilateral stance > Split Stance > Single Leg Stance
Refrain from curling the toes, excessively flexing them into the floor, or trying to grip the floor with the toes. The arch should be created with the toes flat on the ground, not overly flexed, and drawing the ball of the big toe toward the heel of the foot.
As you will see in the video, when the client moves to single leg stance, his foot stability is challenged, and his big toe starts to come up off the ground (although he works to correct it right when it happens). The goal is to perform the movement with a healthy arch and the big toe down on the ground. Trying to push all your weight to the outside of the foot in order to create an arch is not the same as the short foot posture.
In the video we used some single arm cable row progressions, however, there are a variety of exercises we perform to re-train the foot:
- Single leg clocks (some call this single leg excursion or star-balance)
- 1-arm cable chest press/rows
- Single legged deadlifts
- Split Squats
- Step ups
- Medicine ball throws and catches
Again, exercises should follow a logical progression:
Static (very little movement) > Dynamic movement with lower extremity stable > Dynamic movement with lower extremity mobile > Explosive movements
Always ensure that the client can handle one progression before moving to the next!
Where to place it in the workout
We use these movements in one of two places during our training sessions. Obviously these are not heavily loaded strength exercises, so we use these either as part of our warm up, or later in the training session as an ‘accessory movement’.