With most older individuals you will notice if you look closely that when they stand and move their weight is in their heels. For some of the people I work with, their toes are almost completely off the ground when they stand from a seated position or perform a step up. As we get older the fear and anxiety of falling become more pronounced. Subconsciously that fear of falling forward makes them place more and more of their weight in their heels. This can be just as if not more dangerous to them in the long run.
Goal: Have them begin to feel their weight transfer between their heels and toes. First in a standing static position, then in a step up.
Core Stix Exercise: FF, B4, Yellow
Core Stix Standing Weight Transfer:
Standing on Position 1, have them utilize the Stix as a balance tool as they begin to rock their weight back into their heels and then onto their toes. If they feel comfortable with it, have them do it barefooted; we have a lot of proprioception in our feet yet in shoes some of that is muted. Make sure that there is no deflection in the Stix. As they rock back they should not be pulling on the Stix or pushing on them when they transfer to their toes. After 10-20 repetitions have them stop and ask if they can feel the weight balanced more through the entire foot. This is a good time to teach the “foot triangle.” Have them imagine that there is a triangle between the pad below their big toe, little toe, and heel. They should feel pressure evenly through all the points. This may take some time before they begin to feel all points evenly. Don’t give up, even if they aren’t able to feel it right away, you are still working on ankle mobilization in the sagittal plane which they need as well.
Core Stix Balance Assisted Step Up:
Again utilizing the Core Stix as a balance tool, have them perform a 4-inch step up. What you are looking for is no deflection in the rods and where their weight is pressing through their foot. You will see that if their weight is in their heels, they will pull back on the Stix. If their weight is in their toes (very unlikely), they will press forward on the Stix. Eventually, you can get them to do the exercise off of the Core Stix or add a press to the exercise as progressions.