Do you have painful or stiff feet?

The foot has ‘core’ stabilising muscles in them just like the pelvis and lower back. These muscles support your arches.

They get de-trained by wearing shoes all day.

 

What are the “Core” Foot Muscles?

Small muscles in the feet, called intrinsic muscles, help stabilise the feet. In addition to long strap-like muscles that travel underneath the foot, up the side, front and back of your lower legs, intrinsic muscles support the joints of the foot as you walk and run. They provide mobility and strength. They support all three arches in the feet.

There are 26 bones and 33 joints in the foot, the biomechanics of the foot is complex.

5 ways to strengthen your feet.

It really depends what type of feet you have and if anything is currently painful in your feet right now as to which exercises help.

It is important you have any pain diagnosed and treated… foot pain is not just “part of getting older”!

 

1. Take off your shoes at the end of the day and walk on carpet, grass or sand and feel the texture your feet, wriggle your toes, press your toes into the ground, wake them up.

 

2. Strengthen the core muscles of the feet – pick up a tissue with your toes, press the toe pads into the floor (like when you press your finger into a stamp pad). Strengthen the muscles on either side of your ankles by pressing the outer borders of your foot into the leg of a table and hold for 10 secs. Calf raises help to strengthen your feet and the plantar fascia. They are connected.

 

3. Sometimes the feet need support by corrective footwear or orthotics. Often this is only temporary while you strengthen them. Of course, this does not apply to everyone, some people have more permanent conditions requiring long-term use of orthotics and supportive shoes. These people should still strengthen their feet and not rely solely on orthotics.

 

4. Mobilising the foot with the ball foot massage in the exercise pages on this website helps the muscles and joints in the feet function better, and in doing so makes the foot stronger and more balanced.

 

5. Improve the nerve mobility to your feet by elevating your feet and pointing your toes then pulling them back toward your head, moving your foot up and down, in and out.

Some basic exercises are;

  1. Draw your toes back toward your heel, feeling the muscles under your arch working. Alternate flexing and pointing each foot 10 times x 10 secs.
  2. Calf raises are an excellent strengthening exercise, stretching between sets. Keep the foot facing straight ahead or pointing inward.
  3. Practice balancing on an unstable surface for example a cushion
  4. And finally… marching or jogging on a soft surface can be a good way to ease back into walking or running, and get the spring back into your step!

Having specifically treated foot and ankle conditions for years I have seen how the joints and muscles of the foot, combined with the alignment of your body above, affect the function of feet and can result in pain.

If you are concerned, A-J can give you specific exercises for your feet.  A-J at Physio Therapy Yoga in Milsons Point North Sydney has years of experience treating foot and lower limb pain, stiffness and dysfunction.

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