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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 30: Single Leg Heel Raises - Medial/Lateral Foot Bias


For the month of December, we have selected skiing specific exercises that will help build strength and endurance to make your knees bulletproof from groomers to moguls ⛷️


Exercise: Single Leg Heel Raises - Medial/Lateral Foot Bias


Purpose: To strengthen the posterior calf, and foot intrinsic and extrinsic muscles biasing the medial (inside) muscles of the outside leg, and lateral (outside) muscles of the inside leg


What It Targets: Strengthening of the medial calf and foot muscles: Medial Head of the Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Abductor Hallicus, Flexor Digitorum Brevis; Quadratus Plantae, Lumbricals, Plantar and Dorsal Interossei, and more!; Strengthening of the lateral calf and foot muscles: Lateral Head of the Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Peroneals, Extensor Digitorum Brevis, Extensor Hallicus Brevis, Abductor Digiti Minimi, Opponens Digiti Minimi, and more!


Procedure:


  1. Stand with your feet together about 10-20 inches from the wall. Keep your feet, shins and thighs parallel.

  2. Lean your inside shoulder against the wall with your upper arm in line with your upright trunk.

  3. Pick your outside foot up with your knee and hip at 90 degrees if possible.

  4. Perform calf raises as prescribed with a cadence of one second on the lift, and one second on the lower. 

  5. This position targets the muscles of the lateral border and calf of the inside foot. Keep your foot parallel to your shin throughout the exercise.

  6. Switch legs by picking up your inside foot with your knee and hip at 90 degrees if possible.

  7. Perform calf raises as prescribed with a cadence of one second on the lift, and one second on the lower.

  8. This position targets the muscles of the medial border and calf of the outside foot. Keep your foot parallel to your shin throughout the exercise.

  9. Repeat as prescribed. 


Main Cues:


  • When the inside foot is raised, we are biasing the medial foot and calf muscles of the outside leg

  • When the outside foot is raised, we are biasing the lateral foot and calf muscles of the inside leg

  • Maintain the foot parallel to the shin to promote adequate loading throughout the foot and ankle

  • Maintain a solid Tripod of the foot, with 3 contact points of the big toe knuckle (1st MTP), little toe knuckle (5th MTP), and center of the heel

  • Control the motion and avoid “plopping” back towards the ground on the way down

  • Prevent trunk and hip sway, only your ankle should be moving


Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:


  • Ankle/foot pain

Correction: Decrease the distance from the wall to decrease the intensity of the ankle eversion/inversion angle; Decrease the height of the heel raise to a pain-free range.



  • Lateral/medial knee pain

Correction: Decrease the distance from the wall to decrease the demand on your a base of support; Keep a soft knee bend to keep the quads and hamstrings active - do not lock out your knee into hyperextension 



  • Big toe pain

Correction: Decrease the distance from the wall to decrease the demand on your base of support; Be sure to keep your foot parallel to your shin and avoid having foot turned out, which puts excess force on the 1st MTP (big toe knuckle)


Why We Love It:


  • It is a creative spin on the classic uniplanar heel raise that targets all of the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot and calf that are crucial for navigating strong turns on ski slopes

  • It challenges your base of support to prepare you for the unexpected in everyday life, and on the ski slopes

  • It requires zero equipment!


*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

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