Would you tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice?
I am podiatrist, human movement specialist and creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification. I am in private practice in Manhattan where I specialize in movement dysfunction as it relates to feet, foot to core integration and from the ground up stabilization.
I take a non-traditional approach as a podiatrist meaning that I favor more natural movement (barefoot science), minimal footwear and neuromuscular activation as part of my patients treatment.
How did you decide to choose your profession? Your specialty?
My passion is movement so I knew that I always wanted to build a career that was built around the art of movement.
Fifteen years ago, when I first began my fitness career I was very happy but knew I still wanted to eventually get a graduate degree. When I was looking at graduate schools Podiatry seemed like a speciality that would allow me to do medicine but still focus on movement, biomechanics and athletics.
I didn’t quite know how I’d combine my passions but it’s amazing how things unfold and I am exactly where I want to be career-wise. To wake up every morning and be able to do medicine, fitness, movement and education makes me feel like I don’t have to do a job – I’m simply doing what I love.
What are the most common misconceptions about foot health?
I think some of the biggest misconceptions about foot health and foot function are actually put out by Podiatrists.
There is a belief that our feet were not designed to support its own structure without shoes and orthotics – and if you don’t wear supportive shoes your arches will collapse. This is completely illogical. If this were a true statement we evolutionarily would not be bipedal beings.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all around the world to educate professionals about foot function and barefoot science, which means I’ve seen feet from over 30 countries – all different sizes, shapes and from different cultures. I’ve seen cultural differences in foot types and foot function and a common denominator that I can see is that shoes are very damaging to the foot and actually create a lot of intrinsic muscle weakness.
This is why I build my practice around natural movement. Having said that I still understand the benefit of orthotics and their role in supporting foot pathology.
What is the most taxing sport for feet?
I’d definately have to say running!
That much repetition in impact forces will eventually stress the human tissue – be it tendons, bone, fascia. The human body is just not designed to take that much repetition without sufficient recovery – and on the unnatural surfaces that many people run on. Regardless of strike pattern or footwear runners need to be smart to match their recovery to the amount of stress they are putting on the body. This is often hard for most runners as they like to run not recover.
What types of exercises / practices / stretches do you find most underrated for common foot issues?
Although there is still a lot of science around barefoot training – I’d have to say the benefits of training without shoes is still not accepted by all. I teach professionals about the power of barefoot activation before lifting, running, training and look it as a form of movement prep.
The power of barefoot training that I reference is not barefoot running – but rather foot to core exercises that are done barefoot. The faster we can sequence our feet with our core that faster we can transfer forces when walking, running, jumping etc.
Would you tell us about the courses you offer and who attends?
Through the Evidence Based Fitness Academy (www.ebfafitness.com) I offer certifications in barefoot science and what I call from the ground up programming. The Barefoot Training Specialist® and BarefootRx® Rehab Specialist® certifications are built around foot to core sequencing, fascial tensioning and movement efficiency from the ground up.
We teach health and fitness professionals how to activate the foot with barefoot science, how to perform foot and gait assessments, how to create programming based on client foot type and in our new level 3 about how hand function / grip strength can actually be sequenced with foot to core activation.
Workshops are offered all across the world with professionals certified in over 30 countries.
Please tell us how you came to know about RockTape.
I was first introduced to RockTape through my good friend and mentor Dr Perry Nickelston. His passion for movement, education and the betterment of the health industry is so inspiring. I now integrate RockTape with all of my patients and into my Barefoot Training Specialist® program.
How do you use RockTape in your practice? What are your favorite RockTape tools / products?
RockTape follows fascial integration and activation which exactly matches the benefits of barefoot science. I like to tape the foot – not only because I’m a podiatrist – but also because the fact that the foot is the only contact point between the body and the ground means that we need fast – reflexive – and really pre-activation of foot stabilizers when we move. RockTape allows us to better achieve this through priming the nervous / proprioceptive system.