Your feet are a lot more important than you think.
In fact, muscle weakness in your feet can cause hip, back and knee pain.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your feet are most likely under-stretched.
This can lead to muscle weakness and even shortened muscles.
Stretching your feet properly every morning (and again before long walks or exercise) can greatly reduce any pain you may be feeling elsewhere in your body.
It may feel a little awkward or painful at first, but regular foot stretches will make a big difference in your overall mobility and balance.
1. Heel Raises
Heel raises will help realign the tendons in your calves and readjust your ankle joints. It can also help strengthen your toes and give you better balance.
- Grab a chair and place it in front of you.
- Stand tall and lift your left leg off the ground.
- Make sure to bend your right leg a little at the knee.
- Slowly raise and lower right heel, making sure that your foot is properly aligned with your leg.
- Do about 10-20 reps and switch legs.
- You should perform about 2-3 sets for best result.
2. Toe Walking
You don’t have to be a ballerina for this foot exercise! Toe walking will help strengthen the muscles in your toes, as well as the ligaments and muscles surrounding the balls of your feet.
- Stand on your tiptoes with your feet straight and walk forward for 20 seconds.
- Next, point for toes outward and walk for another 20 seconds.
- Once that’s done, point your toes inwards and repeat.
- Rest for 10-15 seconds.
- Repeat the whole routine 5 more times.
3. Ankle Circles
Ankle mobility and flexibility are extremely important. If your ankles are tight, you might experience hip, back or knee pain.
- Lie down on your back in a comfortable position and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hug your right knee to your chest and move your right ankle in a circular motion.
- Your toes should be pointed as they reach a 12 o’clock position and flexed outwards as they reach 6 o’clock.
- Do about 5-10 in circles in a clockwise motion and change direction.
- Repeat for another 5-10 circles.
- Once you’re done with one foot, bring it down and switch legs.
- Repeat the whole exercise with your left ankle.
- For best results, do about 5 sets with each foot.
4. Tibialis Anterior
This exercise is excellent for targeting the hard to reach small muscles in the foot. It can also help realign and strengthen the legs and hips.
- Sit on the floor, with your left knee bent and straighten your right leg out in front of you.
- Wrap an exercise band around a sturdy chair or bedpost or anything sturdy enough to withstand the pull.
- Place the band on the top of your right foot, while sliding your left food under it.
- Next, gently bring your toes up towards your head.
- Hold each position for about 2 seconds and perform about 10 repetitions.
- Next, switch legs and repeat the routine.
- You should do about 3 sets for each foot to help heal knee pain.
5. Toe Curls
These stretches will feel a little frustrating, but they really help build up muscle strength and dexterity in your feet. They’re particularly great for runners!
- Sit down on a chair and place a towel on the floor.
- Place both feet on the towel.
- Use all your toes to scrunch up the towel towards you.
- After about 5-10 reps, try scrunching the towel back out again.
- Repeat 5 sets for each direction.
- Next, rest and wiggle your toes to promotes blood flow.
- Place your feet back on the towel.
- Using your right foot, grab the towel with your toes and hold it for 10 seconds.
- Release and repeat 5 times for each foot.
There you have it, you should be pain-free in no time!
This exercise routine should only take about 20 minutes to complete. Preform these exercises in succession of each other every 2-3 days for best results.