5 FOOT EXERCISES FOR KEEPING YOUR FEET HEALTHY AND FIT
written by Brian Hoke, Sports Physical Therapist
After walking around all day in (most likely unsupportive shoes), or barefoot around the house, or performing high impact exercises on unforgiving terrain, our feet have had it. On the contrary, even if you do abide by supportive and comfortable shoes all day, there are 5 easy exercises that Vionic Innovation Lab Member and Sports Physical Therapy Specialist Brian Hoke, urges you to practice to help alleviate and prevent foot pain, and keep your soles healthy and fit!
Brian Hoke’s Tips on How to Stretch Your Feet
Roll your bare foot over a cold soda can to provide both stretching and cold compression.
- You may also roll your feet out on a tennis ball.
- Soaking the ball in warm water to soften hard skin can be useful and also feels great!
- There are a number of plantar fascia and general foot stretches and exercises available online to assist in improving your comfort.
Kick off your shoes, flex your toes back and forth and give your heels a mini massage. Roll your ankles around, do a calf stretch to minimize any muscle cramping and shortening that may come from wearing high heels or flats, thereby relieving lower body & foot pain.
- Commit to stretching the back of your leg before and after putting on heels.
Loosen your lower calf muscles, which often shorten when you wear heels, causing serious pain and cramping.
- A common mistake is to allow the arches to fall while stretching the calf muscle. It causes stress that can aggravate foot problems like plantar fasciitis.
- Prevent this by doing a normal straight-leg calf stretch.
- Lift the arch in your back foot, place more weight on the outer three toes, and lift your big and “index” toe upward to raise the arch even more. Lean all your weight forward and hold for about 15 seconds on each side.
Ice and Massage
- Our feet hit the ground 50,000 times/day, give them time to kick up and relax.
- Ice them, massage them, nourish your body.
- Stretch it out! Like yoga for the feet: pelvic tilts, ankle rolls and calf stretches will minimize muscle cramping and shortening from your non-supportive shoes (i.e. typical high heels, flats, flat flip flops)
- Stretch the back of your leg before and after wearing shoes and massage to stretch the plantar fascia, which will prevent painful plantar fasciitis.