Pain on the Bottom of your Foot? Plantar Intrinsic Training is a Solution

Plantar Intrinsic Training

by Matt Heyliger, DPT, Excel Physical Therapy

Over-pronation (the inward roll of the foot while walking or running) is a common contributing factor in the development of several lower extremity injuries including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, patellafemoral knee pain and other overuse conditions. Recent research addressing the contributing factors to the development of plantar foot pain (pain at the bottom of your foot) has emphasized the importance of training the muscles of the foot to keep the arch from collapsing inward. It has been proposed that the intrinsic plantar muscles of the foot play a similar role in arch preservation as the core muscles play in the stabilization of the trunk and spine. This concept provides a great foundation for direct treatment of conditions associated with over-pronation.


A recent study by Mulligan and Cook, published in the journal “Manual Therapy,” presented this concept and sought to test if the performance of a series of exercises (named “Short Foot Exercises”) directed at isolating the recruitment of the plantar foot muscles could decrease pronation after four weeks of training. They discovered a small, but significant difference in arch height and these differences were preserved after eight weeks without continued training. While these exercises are tedious and initially challenging, our patients here at Excel Physical Therapy are responding well to these exercises. If you have been dealing with plantar foot pain and are not responding to other therapies or orthotics, consider training the “core” of your feet with Short Foot Exercises.


Be sure to contact a licensed health professional before starting any exercise plan and for a thorough evaluation or diagnosis of your issue. We can help. Call us in Bozeman at 406.556.0562 or in Manhattan at 406.284.4262.


About Matt Heyliger, DPT:

Matt completed his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. During his clinical experience with the Sports Medicine and Extremities team at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City, Matt was exposed to a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical conditions and developed a solid foundation for the assessment and treatment of orthopedic conditions related to the extremities.
Matt is an avid rock climber, telemark/backcountry skier and mountain biker. Matt regularly practices yoga and enjoys frequent adventures in the mountains with his wife and their Alaskan Malamute.