Strong, healthy feet are less likely to succumb to injury or develop painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis. But with all of us juggling busy lives, how can we make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our lower body in top shape?
Help is here! The team at OrthoSole have listed our top 6 foot exercises that can be carried out anywhere, anytime. They’re fast, they’re easy, and if you practice each of them at least three times a week without fail, you’ll notice sturdier muscles, increased flexibility and better all-round comfort!
Have a go at these quick, effortless exercises that will strengthen your feet and leave them less prone to damage.
- Calf stretch
By far the most important exercise for those who wish to strengthen their feet is the calf stretch. Your calf muscles – aka the gastrocnemius muscles – are engaged during practically all forms of movement. Weak calves will affect your body’s mechanics and can lead to all kinds of painful conditions, including Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, which causes a great deal of discomfort in the heel.
Calf stretching can be monotonous, but it’s vital for preventing injury and keeping your lower legs strong and flexible.
- Stand facing a wall with your hands flat against the wall.
- Place your right leg forward, while your foot remains flat on the floor.
- Extend your left leg backwards and place your heel flat on the floor. Make sure you don’t bend your back knee.
- Lean into the wall until you can feel your calf stretch in the straight leg.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
For the following exercises, you’ll need to find a straight-backed chair and place your feet on the floor.
- Toe extension
This is one of our favourite exercises because it can help you either prevent or treat the onset of plantar fasciitis. Pick up one foot and place it on the thigh of the opposite leg.
- Pull your toes up towards your ankle until you can feel a gentle stretch that runs from the sole of your foot to your heel cord.
- Hold for 10 seconds and, if it’s comfortable, massage the arch of your foot with your other hand while stretching.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Tennis ball roll
Again, this exercise is great for combatting plantar fasciitis, as well as ongoing pain in the arch of the foot.
- Place a tennis ball on the floor near your feet (or an item of a similar shape and size).
- Hold the top of the tennis ball with the bottom of your foot.
- Roll it around with your foot so that you are effectively massaging the sole.
- Increase the pressure or ease off a little as needed.
Carry out the tennis ball roll for 2 minutes at a time.
- The raise, point and curl
If your feet are feeling a little stiff or tired, wake them up with this simple yet effective exercise.
- Ensuring that your toes are placed flat on the ground, raise your heels upwards until only the balls of your feet and the tips of your toes are touching the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Point your toes forwards so that only the ends of your big and second toes are touching the ground. Hold this position for a further 5 seconds.
- Raise your heel off the ground and roll your toes under the sole of your foot, ensuring that only the tips are touching the ground. Hold for 5 seconds.
Repeat each step of the sequence 10 times.
- Toe curls
It’s important not to forget that the muscles on top of our feet need to be just as strong and supple as those on the bottom. This exercise will help you readdress the balance.
- Lay a hand towel on the floor in front of you
- Place the toes of one foot on the nearest end of the towel.
- Scrunch your toes so that you’re pulling the towel towards you.
Repeat 5 times with each foot.
- Toe splay
It may sound painful, but in fact, this exercise is completely the opposite! This particular movement will help you gain better control over your toe muscles.
With your feet firmly on the ground, simply spread your toes as far apart as you possibly can and hold the motion for 5 seconds.
Repeat 10 times.
Too easy? Loop a rubber band around your big and little toes for extra resistance.
Do you practice any exercises that are designed to develop strength and flexibility in your feet? Have you seen great results just by carrying out quick movements for a few minutes, a few times a week?
We’d love to hear your tips and experiences. Tweet us @orthosole or leave a comment on our Facebook page!
And remember, there are plenty of benefits to investing in sole insoles LINK TO BENEFITS PAGE if you’re regularly experiencing pain in your feet. See for yourself how our products LINK TO PRODUCTS PAGE can support you by browsing our website, or contact us LINK TO CONTACT PAGE with a specific query and we’ll do our best to assist you.