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The goal of this exercise is to develop stability through slow, controlled movements, which also helps with proper joint rotation. This exercise can be done with shoes, but I chose no shoes because my feet are horribly flat. I’ve learned the hard way what wearing shoes and inserts can do to the foot muscles. Wearing shoes or inserts too much can end up causing issues similar to bracing too much.

“Walking barefoot and with sneakers on helps with unstable ankles” – Dr. Pradeep Chopra at The EDS Society’s 2016 Learning Conference. Image credit to The Ehlers-Danlos Society’s Twitter Account.

On a personal note, I was rendered nearly immobile because I couldn’t keep my balance without my shoes on. My feet became dependent on my shoes and orthotics to be stable while walking, moving or exercising. Katy Bowman of Nutrition Movement discusses this quite often in her podcasts and books. I’ve written about this as well, and I am currently enrolled in her restorative exercise specialist certification program. So, while I do not enjoy being barefoot all of the time, I often do ditch my shoes and socks while in a safe and stable environment such as physical therapy office. Additionally, I try to walk around my house and do other things barefoot that I normally would not. It’s paying off – my foot and ankle stability is improving. 

I’m always working on my shoulders, regaining strength in my upper back and all along my spine to help correct kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis. I also have winged scapula and “forward head posture.” All of these issues are common with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other hypermobility syndromes, and especially if you have CCI (Craniocervical Instability). The key is to work with a knowledgeable PT or provider who can help guide you and develop a program specific to your needs.

Many people have to start with no bands and can only tolerate 1-2 minutes of a particular exercise if that much. However, little by little, you can make incredible improvements in body alignment, strength, and stability over time. Every little bit counts!

***Please note – while functional movements and therapeutic or restorative exercises may be able to play a critical role in helping us regain movement and components of daily life that we have been missing out on, each person’s particular case and level of mobility is different. What works for one person does not always work for or apply to the next person. It’s critical to ask your physician or physical therapist before engaging in a new type of activity or exercise. It’s also important to focus on starting slow and going low, especially when first beginning a new exercise or activity.***

This post was originally published on the EDS Wellness Facebook and Instagram Page.