Core Foot Posture Exercises
Small muscles in the feet, called intrinsic muscles, help stabilise the feet. They can get weak from wearing shoes, and from prolonged sitting and walking on hard surfaces.
The foot has a natural shape, with 3 arches; a long inner arch, one under the ball of the feet and one across the midfoot. Core exercises aim to maintain your natural foot architecture.
Do you have painful or stiff feet?
The foot has core stabilising muscles to support it just like the pelvis and lower back. These muscles support your arches and help to stiffen your foot to propel you forward.
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. Intrinsics 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, as a result the biomechanics of the foot is complex.
To strengthen your feet.
It depends on what type of feet you have, and if anything is currently painful in your feet right now, as to which exercises help.
You must 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 really feel your feet, wriggle your toes, press the toes into the ground gently, and wake them up.
2. Strengthen the core muscles of the feet – pick up a tissue with your toes, press the pads into the floor (like when you press your finger into a stamp pad). Strengthen the muscles on either side, you may press the outer borders of your foot into the leg of a table and hold for 10 secs. Calf raises really help to strengthen your plantar fascia. They are connected.
3. Sometimes the feet are in need of 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 massage above helps the muscles and joints in the feet function better, and in doing so the foot is stronger.
5. Improve the nerve mobility to your feet by elevating your feet pointing your toes then pulling them back to your head, repeat moving your foot up and down, in and out.
Some basic exercises are
- Lie on your back with your legs out straight, or sit in a chair. Draw your toes back toward your heel, feeling the muscles under your arch working. Now try to do this, pointing your toes straight out. Alternate flexing and pointing each foot 10 times x 10 secs.
- Calf raises are an excellent strengthening exercise, stretching between sets. Keep the foot facing straight ahead or pointing inward for a calf stretch
- Practice balancing on an unstable surface like a foam cushion (start on a stable surface of course).
- Marching or jogging on a cushioned surface can be a good way to ease back into walking or running – get the spring back into your step!
Having specifically treated foot and ankle conditions for years I have seen how weakness of these muscles affects the function of your feet.
If you are concerned about your feet, I can give you exercises specifically for you here at Physio Therapy Yoga in Milsons Point North Sydney.