Lower Limb Restricted Workouts

Lower limb injuries and pain can be very frustrating. They limit free movement to go places, do things and feel independent. Whatever the reason for the pain or injury, we have provided some simple workouts to keep fitness during the rehabilitation phase.

As with all conditions, please ensure that you seek a medical professional’s opinion and approval before starting any exercises. It is always best to obtain specific advice for your condition to aid healing more fully. It is your responsibility to seek professional advice and we disclaim any and all liability for any exercises followed.


Common Injuries

Ankle, foot and calf issues are the focus for this blog post. This could be a strain, sprain or a fracture of a bone. Often a broken toe will not receive much medical treatment yet needs time and rest to heal, plus limiting certain movements in daily life.

It is still always best to get a check of an injury with a medical professional to ensure that the rehabilitation process is the most suitable for the injury. There are potential conflicts with holding a joint still with a fracture where mobilisation for a fascial issue may be more appropriate.

There will be compensations made in the body for the healing process. This impacts all of the body and not just the injured area, and this is due to the weight bearing nature of the lower limbs. A shift in weight will knock up the entire body for balance in moving around.

Resistance bands, light weights on ankles (when non-weight bearing) and Pilates equipment training can all be highly supportive to maintain strength without too much weight on the injured portion. However, go gentle and seek specific advice before trying anything.


Fascia of Lower Limbs

Five of six myofascial lines connect into the feet and up through the lower limbs. This means it is highly likely a fair amount of fascia will be affected by lower limb pain or restricted movement. Below are three of the main culprits for injuries and how to work them during post-rehabilitation.

Part of tissue remodelling from fascia training can help with healing injuries. Fascia can be trained remotely from the point of the desired effect, which is really useful with injuries. Try our tips or the video for a starter.

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LATERAL LINE

The peroneal muscles are on the outside of ankle into the calf and connect up into the outer hip and IT Band. This may connect into hip or low back issues, even if the origin is from the ankle stability and foot use. An often neglected part of the body in training and daily movement, the side body and Lateral Line is a key fascial line for stability in all movement.

TIP: Side bending is great for balancing this fascial line, ensuring that the pelvis is involved in moving the fascia will connect right down into the lower leg.

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SPIRAL LINE

At the bottom of the foot this is the ‘stirrup’ across the ball of the foot where the transverse arch falls, so issues can be seen in fallen or excessive arches in the foot. It loops around the top of the foot into the tibialis anterior (shin) spiralling outside of the knee and up into the outer thighs and pelvis. This line is best worked from the lower leg so often is connected into lower limb injuries.

TIP: Pelvic positioning working neutral to imprint when standing can help work the fascia down into the foot whilst injured.

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DEEP FRONT LINE

A part of the deep calf muscles and tendons into the toes this fascial line tracks the medial arch of the foot in the push off phase of walking when the ball of the foot presses into the ground. This connection plugs into the psoas muscle and thoracolumbar junction that is part of breathing. Stability of the legs are connected to this line as a counterbalance to the Lateral Line (above) to help control the knee tracking safely.


TIP: Psoas and diaphragm exercises in our previous blog posts can release the foot bringing the fascia more into balance. Check out psoas here or diaphragm here.


Energetic Aspects

From a Reiki perspective the lower legs - knees and feet - are part of the root or Muladhara chakra. This is the energy centre focused on the emotions of food, safety and security. This deeply connects into our sense of belonging in the physical plane - the body, a group of people or tribe, how to nourish oneself.

This might be expressed through the following behaviours:

  • Workaholism

  • Binge eating

  • Hoarding or excessive shopping

  • Over- controlling behaviour

  • Hyper-vigilance

  • An inherent mistrust of other people

An imbalance might be exhibited in:

  • Feeling unsupported in life

  • Concerns about money and the ability to provide

  • A feeling of ‘never enough’

  • Struggles to connect with appreciation and gratitude in life

  • Feeling dizzy or disconnected to the world around

  • Challenges in connecting with others

Specific lower limb issues can be linked to key chakras and energy points. If we keep this simple and consider the role of the part of the lower leg in basic movement and daily interaction with life, then it is easy to take the energetic lesson of an injury into other aspects of life:

  • The soles of the feet and toes are about the ability to connect to earth and use it to feel supported.

  • The ankles are stability and steadiness in direction and angle of the path taken. The ease of rolling with things when walking the steps of life.

  • The calves are resilience and the lightness of the steps that can be taken.

  • The shins can show resistance to moving forward and being pulled off centre.

When healing lower limb injuries walking is the base movement to focus upon. A fundamental movement it can rehabilitate much of the body and bring it into balance, plus performed consciously is very grounding and creates a feeling of one’s own support.


Hot Tip for when returning to Walking

Fascia can help rebuild the strength in the tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. Through a simple act like walking healing can be improved if done mindfully. Try the ‘elastic walking’ approach taken from Robert Schleip’s Fascia in Sport and Movement:

Elastic walking for healing….

  1. Straighten the legs behind as walk with long steps

  2. Roll off the back foot onto the ball (stretch the plantar fascia)

  3. Centre of the heel to strike down as step forward

  4. Pull up the pubic bone to the navel to ensure that the pelvis is propelling the body forward with balanced weight.

  5. Breathe into the sides of ribs to lift the waist and feel a lighter walk

  6. Let the upper body swing and move with the strides. There is an opposition in the swing of walking.

Other tips to bring the lower energy centres into balance include:

  • Being in nature

  • Feet on soil or sand

  • Nurture yourself with a bath or foot bath

  • Eat grounding foods like sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips.

  • Leg strengthening shapes like squats, Tadasana and bridge when weight-bearing is manageable.

Enjoy our simple workouts to keep in shape, support the body’s healing process and keep you moving when restricted in the lower limbs. Let us know how you go. Contact us for more bespoke post-rehabilitation training to suit your needs.

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