The slant board is a simple tool that provides a lot of benefits. Yet many people wonder how the simple act of raising the heels can really improve their rehab and recovery ability. In this article, we discover why slant boards deserve to play a vital part in your rehab and recovery program.
How the Slant Board Aids Rehab
When our muscles remain static, the blood circulation is restricted, which can lead to a build-up of inflammation, especially in the lower body. This can happen when we’ve been forced to sit around as a result of an injury when we would otherwise be active.
The slant board is the ideal antidote to lower body inflammation. Any condition that ends in ‘itis’ is related to inflammation. The slant board, then, can help to bring relief to such conditions as …
- Achilles tendonitis
- Patellar tendonitis
By performing exercises on the slant board you can perform safe, impact-free stretching and resistance exercises for the patellar and Achilles ligaments.
If you’ve been laid low by a leg injury, the slant board will help get you back walking. A 2016 study that was published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science analyzed the effect of slant board exercise on stroke patients who suffered from walking debilitation.
After 30 days of using the slant board three times per day, the study participants showed a significant improvement in their walking ability. Exercises used in the study included simply standing on the slant board for three minutes. This provided the forward shift of gravity needed to retrain the lower body muscles to get back into coordinated walking.
Slant board training is especially beneficial to rebuilding muscles, tendons, and ligaments for walking after spending time in a leg cast.
Post Injury Strengthening
During periods of downtime due to injury or accident, our muscles get weaker. A weakness in just one link in the chain of muscles, tendons, and ligaments will impair the ability to walk properly. A weakness in one area can also result in excess pressure on another area. This may lead to such conditions as …
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscle strain
- Shin splints
- Calf strain
Doing exercises on the slant board will help you to strengthen the joints, ligaments, and muscles that will help to prevent these conditions.
Vastus Medialis Strengthening
The vastus medialis is the tear-shaped muscle that sits above the knee. It’s one of the four quadriceps muscles and, of the four, is the one most directly responsible for knee extension. The vastus medialis, or VMO, is also responsible for knee stabilization. Many people, especially those who have been forced into inactivity during a period of injury, have weak vastus medialis muscles.
When you do focused exercises to strengthen this muscle, you will be greatly improving the support system of the knee. This will help keep the kneecap in good alignment and reduce the likelihood of patellar tendonitis. It will also help to correct knee tracking issues that can cause ongoing problems.
Enhanced Squatting Ability
The bodyweight squat is one of the best lower body rehab exercises that exist. Research shows that performing rehab exercises on a slant will promote faster and safer recovery than when you do the exercise on a flat surface.
When you squat on the slant board you can achieve greater depth and mobility. The elevated heel position also keeps your upper body more upright and prevents the tendency to round your back which often happens with a flat heel position. When that happens, the lumbar spine becomes excessively loaded and the emphasis goes off the glutes and quads.
When you squat on the slant board, you can also achieve much more depth before the natural rounding of the back occurs. Your knees and hips can bend more, while your spine remains neutral.
The slant board pushes the knee forward, with the result that the butt comes closer to the line of the torso. This keeps the entire body more upright.
These factors make the slant board a fantastic tool when you are using the squat exercise as part of your rehab and recovery program.
A slant board will make your rehab and recovery safer, faster, and more effective. It’s an investment in your health and fitness that you’ll never regret.