7 Key Exercises for Healthier Feet

The muscle groups of your two feet make up 25 percent of the body’s muscles. The stronger your feet, the stronger your foundation is for everything however consider strengthening your feet to be a long-term project. We have put together 7 key exercises for healthier feet.

1. Toe grip

Strengthens foot muscles to improve balance. Place an item on the floor and use your toes to grip and lift it off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot. Another version of this is to put about 7-10 small objects on the floor such as lego or marbles and place a small cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up the pieces one at a time and put them in the cup. Just remember to count that you have collected all the objects.

2.Toe stretch

Sit in chair, right leg crossed over left thigh. Interlace left fingers with right toes. Squeeze fingers and toes together and hold for 10 seconds, then stretch wide for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times with each foot.

3. Toe extension

Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.

4. Calf stretch

Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.

5. Calf Raise

Position your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels. Repeat 10 times.

6. Sand walking

Any chance you get, take off your shoes and walk in the sand at the beach. This exercise massages your feet as well as strengthens your toes and provides good general foot conditioning. Watch out for glass!

7. Golf ball roll

Roll a golf ball under the ball of the foot for two minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of the foot and is recommended for people with plantar fasciitis (heel pain), arch strain or foot cramps. We have even heard of people using a frozen-golf-ball for massaging their feet. The icy, feel and hard ball can get into the tiny muscles of the foot and give you a deep massage.

Looking for a Health Spring? Start by Checking Your Feet & Footwear

Now that warmer weather is here, we are all eager to go outside and be more active. It is important to be mindful of your foot health as you start or increase your exercise regime. Start your spring by giving your feet & footwear the once over.

Checking Your Feet:

After cleaning your feet, sit on a bed, chair, in a well-lit room. Lift your one foot over your opposite leg so you can easily see your foot. Do a visual inspection. Search for any abnormalities on the top of your feet, such as scabs, sores, bruises, or corns. Rotate your ankle slightly so the sole of your foot is visible and angled upward.

Balls of feet: Scan the surface for bumps and irregular textures. Because this area endures high pressure when you walk, calluses or corns may develop. Proper-fitting footwear can reduce your risk.

Soles of feet: Feel for bumps and lumps, which can be signs of muscle or bone injuries. Contact your doctor if symptoms persist or if you notice open wounds called ulcers. If you are unable to see the bottom of your foot, use a handheld mirror to view its reflection.

Heels: Feel for dry, rough, or cracked skin. Even small fissures can become infected. For prevention, moisturise daily with odourless, colourless lotion. Don’t moisturise between toes; bacteria love warm, moist places.

Toes: To test for blood flow, gently squeeze the balls of your toes. Normal colour should return within five seconds. Discoloured toes indicate possible circulatory problems.

Toenails: Examine unpolished nails for thickness, discolouration, or flaking, which can be signs of fungal infections. A doctor may advise an over-the-counter or prescription treatment.

Around toenails: Look for ingrown toenails, characterised by reddened, puffy skin along the nail. Ingrown nails can require surgery if ignored for too long.

Check Your Footwear

Check your footwear and walking shoes. You should check your sports/walking shoes every six months to see if they are worn out and still offer the support you need. Remember to wear the correct footwear for the for the specific type of exercise or sport you are performing: running shoes for running, tennis shoes for tennis etc.

A good indication that your shoes might be approaching the end of their life is if you feel they are not as comfortable and supportive as when they were when you bought them. As the materials wear down, the cushioning and support begins to compress and the materials that the shoes are made of don’t “bounce back” as much as they once did.

Solesciene notes that there are three major indicators of wear on a shoe: outersole/outsole wear, midsole compression and upper or interior wear

Outersole wear: Take a look at the bottom of your shoe; if the sole is worn down excessively in any one area, it is likely time to replace them. Put your shoe on a flat, even surface at eye level. Most shoes should sit evenly, without tipping or rocking.

“Normal” wear occurs at the outside back of the heel and evenly across the ball of the foot. If you notice any excessive wear in any other areas it may be an indication that the shoe is worn out, or that you may need a different type of shoe for your biomechanical needs.

Midsole Typically, this layer is made from EVA which allows for mild compression during activity and rebounds after use. Over time EVA will begin to compress, with visible creases of wrinkles developing.

Upper or interior wear: Review the exterior of your shoe for wear and tear. Take a look at the inside of the back of the shoe. Excessive heel counter wear is an indication that the shoe is worn out and needs replacing. If the shoes are less than 6 months old and are wearing out at the heel, the shoe may not be appropriate for your foot.

If you remain unsure about your feet or footwear pop into FootBalance for a free foot assessment and disucss your foot health with one of our team.



Sources: The article is originally published on FootbalanceBoth our own sources and sources from the internet such as solescience and foot health websites were used in the creation of this blog post.