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Daily Stretches and Exercises to Support Foot Health

We don’t usually give our feet much thought unless we’re getting a pedicure, buying shoes, or nursing a bunion or other form of foot pain. But our two little feet are the support system for our entire body as we move through life — walking, running, or leaping in bounds.

Just as you must turn your attention to your organs, such as your heart and brain, if you want to be healthy now and in the future, you must consider your feet, too. Feet literally bear the weight of your entire body. In fact, when you walk, your feet must bear the equivalent of 3-6 times your body weight. That increases when running or jumping. 

At Advanced Foot & Ankle Center, our board-certified podiatrists are, naturally, partial to feet and their needs. Although we’re always available at our offices throughout Utah to help you with foot pain and foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis, we’d rather help you avoid them altogether.

One way to keep your feet strong and supple is to exercise and stretch them daily. How do you do that? Following are a few tips.

Foot circles

Always start your foot exercises with a series of warm-ups. A great way to get the circulation moving without putting stress on your feet is to do a few foot circles.

Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg just enough to make clockwise circles with your foot, leading with the big toe. Do 15-20 circles, then switch to counterclockwise circles. Repeat on your other foot. 

Sole stretches

To avoid getting plantar fasciitis, stretch out the bottoms of your feet, otherwise known as your soles. Stand with your feet together. If needed, balance with a hand on the wall.

Step back with one leg and press your toes against the floor, with your heel lifted. You should feel a gentle pull on your plantar fascia. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with other foot. 

Toe stretches

Stretch the fronts of your feet, too. Stand with both feet on the floor, using the wall for balance, if needed.

Roll one foot forward so that the front of your toes press against the ground, while your heel is raised. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with other foot. 

Runner’s stretch

Stretch your Achilles tendon, which runs from your calf to your heel, by standing in front of a wall. Press your hands into the wall. Then step back with one leg, bending your knee slightly while keeping your sole on the ground.

You should feel a gentle pull in your calf muscle. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with other leg.

Hamstring stretches

Sit on the ground with legs straight out in front of you. Bend forward, reaching toward your toes. You should feel a gentle stretch on the backs of both legs. Just hold the stretch steady for 30 seconds or so; don’t bounce.

Calf raises

Now that your muscles and tendons are warmed up, it’s time to get strong. Stand with your hands on the back of a chair or other support. Keep both feet flat on the floor.

Then raise your heels while keeping the toes pressed into the floor. Repeat 10 times. Increase the repetitions as you get stronger. 

Marble pick-up

Give your toes some resistance training and dexterity by picking up marbles from the floor. Sit in a chair with your feet flat against the floor.

Put 20 marbles and an empty bowl near your feet. With one foot, use your toes to pick up the marbles and put them in the bowl. After completion, start over with the other foot.

Sand walking

Going barefoot on sand is a great way to strengthen all the muscles and tissues in your feet, ankles, and legs. If you don’t live near a beach, build or buy your own sandbox. A volleyball court might work, too.

Walk barefoot for as long as you can. Increase the distance gradually. Make sure you watch where you walk so you don’t cut or injure your feet. 

Do you have foot pain, plantar fasciitis, or other foot problems? Call our team at the office nearest you for help or simply book your appointment online today.

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