April 2022

Recovery and Regeneration Strategies for Foot Performance Part 3

By Antonio Robustelli, MSc, CSCS

In the first article1 of this series, I introduced the concepts of recovery and regeneration as well as terminological and methodological differences; in the second article,2 I discussed the main aspects related to the 3 levels of foot recovery (Functional, Structural, and Sensory).

In this third and last article, I will focus on the pratical approach by translating the concepts into a sample protocol that can be used to target the recovery and regeneration of the foot/ankle complex.

Foot Recovery Protocol

1.) Functional Capacity Recovery

Timing: Immediately at the end of the training session

Duration: 4 minutes

Mode: Movement of the foot/ankle in different directions and planes with the assistance of electrical muscle stimulation. If using a DC current device (ie, Neubie [NeuPT Technologies, Tampa, FL]), it is possible to apply the stimulation during the whole period of movement; if using a traditional AC current device (ie, Compex [Enovis {formerly DJO Global}, Carlsbad, CA], MarcPro [Huntington Beach, CA], Powerdot [Therabody, Los Angeles, CA]), you can alternate between 40 seconds of stimulation at low frequency (less than 20 Hz) and 60 seconds of active movement. Pads should be placed on calves and soles of the feet.

a.) Calf raises in a slow and controlled fashion for 60 seconds

b.) Dorsiflexion and plantar flexion non-weight bearing in a slow and controlled fashion for 60 seconds

c.) Inversion and eversion weight bearing in a slow and controlled fashion for 60 seconds

d.) Toe flexion and extension in a slow and controlled fashion for 60 seconds

Goal: Starting the recovery process by facilitating the restoration of movement efficiency, the mobilization of fluid wastes, and a shift into parasympathetic mode.

2.) Structural Recovery

Timing: From 6 to 24 hours after the training session

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Mode: Mechanical decompression with devices providing negative pressure (ie, LymphaTouch)

a.) Stationary technique with LymphaTouch on calf muscles and plantar fascia (the technique involves holding the treatment cup on specific muscles and areas for 3 to 5 pulsations).

Pressure settings: 260-290 mmHg

b.) Sliding technique with LymphaTouch on calf muscles and plantar fascia (involves the sliding of the treatment cup over the desired muscles and areas ).

Pressure settings: 290-330 mmHg

Goal:  To promote regeneration and to avoid overuse and chronic damage, to improve the tolerance ability of tissues to handle mechanical stresses as well as to accelerate the remodeling process.

3.) Sensory Recovery

Timing: Before sleep at the end of the training session day

Duration: 15 minutes

Mode: Foot bath with Epsom salt (temperature 40°-45° C/104°-113° F) and topical skin applications with essential oils and extracts (maca root and flower).

Goal: Regenerate the skin and amplify the sensory activation.

Antonio Robustelli is a professional sports performance consultant and elite coach from Italy. He is also a member of the LER Editorial Advisory Board and can be reached at
Antonio.Robustelli@omni-athlete.com.

REFERENCES
  1. Robustelli A. Recovery nad Regeneration Strategies for Foot Performance: Part I. Lower Extremity Review. 2020;12(6):41.
  2. Robustelli A. Recovery and Regeneration Strategies for Foot Performance: Part II. Lower Extremity Review. 2021;13(6):39-40.

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