Optimizing Your Sports Performance As You Age
Establishing optimal foot and leg alignment prevents sports injuries and leads to better performance!
One of your foot is most likely flattening more than the other just as one of your leg is somewhat longer than the other. Pronation or normal foot flattening is like cholesterol: we need a bit but too much can be quite harmful in the long run. Foot and leg imbalances just add up in putting your ankles and knees out-of-alignment as both are forced to roll and twist inward. This is why you may have experienced repetitive sports injuries over decades such as ankle sprains, shin splints, knee and hip pain conditions. As your heel turns inward, your calf muscles are forced to twist your heel outward and there: you sprain your ankle once again!
Foot and leg alignment is the mere foundation of the performance of all weight bearing sport activities. Sports Medicine often confuses contributing factors with the root-cause of many sports injuries (which are often the result of foot and leg misalignment increased by the various forces imposed on the musculoskeletal system during the course of most physical activities). What is damaging your weight-bearing joints the most ? Is it running with abnormal allocation of your body weight within your ailing knee due to foot dysfunction and resulting leg misalignment? Improving your foot and leg alignment is key in improving your performance in most sports.
Most talented athletes are not optimally aligned; if this is your case, you may have a longer leg and or an over or under pronating foot throwing off your balance. Balance or optimal body weight distribution is impossible if your feet over or under pronate or if you have one leg longer than the other. Again, this is something that you may very likely have to some degree.
Do you Play Golf?
If you play golf with an overpronating foot or a longer leg, you are forced to swing either uphill or dowhill all the time and this makes consistency of your drive impossible. Forcibly swinging through and over your longer leg may very likely force your lower limbs weight bearing joints to move in a plane and position for which they were not designed. Decades of repetitive movements performed with some misalignment within your feet, ankles, knees, hips or back joints may cause osteoarthritis. Your sore joints now force you to rent a cart, then cut down to a 9-hole course, to finally skip a few games because of your increasingly high pain level.
Are You an Avid Skater?
If you skate with overpronating or flattening feet, you may be tempted to cinch your skates more tightly or to get your blades moved toward the inside – as some athletes coaches recommended in an attempt to compensate for weak ankles. Supporting your flattening feet with orthotics, especially designed to sit precisely into your skates, will provide much improved stability and better performances than arbitrarily moving blades or excessively tightening the laces of your skates.
If you squat with uneven legs, you are more prone to knee injury and your performance will be hindered. If you are a left-handed baseball player, tennis player or golfer with a longer right leg, you will swing upward against your longer leg and you will not be able to turn easily on your right and fully follow through your swing!
How do You like Biking?
If you cycle with a longer left leg, you will likely flatten your left foot which will force your knee to bend inward on that same side. This will reduce your power and speed going uphill and increase your likelihood for knee conditions.
Do You Prefer Running, Hiking or Simply Going for a Walk?
If you walk, hike or run with increased foot pronation, your affected foot will stay longer on the ground and result in a much less effective push-off. A flat foot is a flimsy and unstable lever to push off from; significantly slowing down athletes. Normal foot-type sprinters take most advantage of the power rigid starting blocks give them at each start. The power of the flattening foot-type push-off and resulting body acceleration will always be lower than the one provided by a more rigid straight foot-type.
Are You a Fighter?
Weight bearing flat feet reduce the power of a punch and the total weight athletes can lift. A more pronated right foot and makes an athlete slower to move to their left. A longer left leg is causing you a hard time to turn toward your left side against your longer leg.
Sport Overuse Injury: Really?
Sports overuse syndrome or injury is a misnomer for feet and legs misalignment resulting in musculoskeletal overload magnified by an otherwise healthy sport activity whenever sufficient foundational misalignment is present. Misalignment increasing torsion, compression, friction and premature wear and tear in all of the weight bearing joints of the human musculoskeletal system appears to be the cause or certainly a major predisposing factor in limiting sports performance and increasing sports injuries.
Fixing Your Misalignment as a Preventive Measure and as a Performance Advantage
If your car wheels and tires are not properly balanced and aligned, your tires will wear and tear faster on the exact same narrow surface that rubs against the ground. Hence your car is losing some of its grip and stability, especially in the curves. The same approach, fixing the harmful misalignment of your musculoskeletal system, may be indicated to prevent or alleviate osteoarthritis, sports injuries and to restore optimal sports performance as you age.