HOW TO KEEP YOUR FOOT HEALTHY?
People at some point in life experience foot or ankle pain. It is important to keep your feet strong. Many of the exercises could help alleviate this soreness and improve overall health and flexibility.
Regularly exercising and stretching your feet and ankles would provide support to the muscles. These exercises would increase range of motion in the feet, helping you be active for as long as possible.
Healthy feet and ankles are vital to your ability to walk, run, and maintain your balance. Strengthening and stretching them will make a big difference in keeping your feet happy and healthy.
The lower leg is made up of the tibia on the inside and the fibula on the outside. The bones connect to the talus and the calcaneus or heel. Heel is further connected to the five small bones and the metatarsals and phalanges of toes.
The bones are interconnected with different sized ligaments together for stability. Ligaments are connected to bones with various muscles from the big calf to the small muscles that move your toes.
The ankle and foot move in different angles to provide stability and dexterity. These movements carry us over all types of terrain from soft sand to rocky ground.
The two main type of exercises are:
Flexibility exercises: These help improve flexibility and keep your feet limber. These would reduce your risk for injury. You could build flexibility through slow and gentle daily stretches, focusing on one group of muscles at a time.
Resistance exercises: These require your muscles to work against some type of resistance, such as weights or exercise bands. These help strengthen muscles to provide better support and protection for the foot. Exercise bands resemble compression bandages but are segregated on the basis of colors corresponding to the amount of resistance they provide.
EXERCISE FOR HEALTHY FOOT
If you have pain in feet and ankles, any injuries, or medical conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, it is important to visit a podiatrist or physical therapist before starting any exercises. Depending on your condition the podiatrist would suggest exercises or therapies. Some of the exercise to help alleviate the pain and keep foot healthy include:
- Bear Squat to Downward Dog Dynamic Stretch: It is a great activity to help facilitate ankle dorsiflexion and great toe extension. This is an important exercise for runners. This exercise is beneficial as it not only stretches out the arches of your feet, but also helps lengthen the muscles and tendons in your calves. These muscles and tendons are helpful in moving the foot. They also play a role in how your foot hits the ground.
Trigger Point Release for Feet: The trigger point therapy with active release provides many benefits for a runner. It helps promote blood flow and allow the fascia around the muscle to properly align especially in the feet. The exercise will help provide better movement in your toes and stabilize your feet.
- Toe Lifts: These are like bicep curls of the toe. The isolation exercise targets and strengthens the foot stabilizer muscles, mainly the muscles that maintain and support your foot’s arch. This is achieved by isolating the big toe and making sure you can move independently of the rest of the foot. This exercise isolates the toe flexor and extensor muscles as well as forces them to work on their own. These small muscles are important in maintaining balance and stability. Strengthening them prevents injuries such as shin splints.
- Towel Curls: This exercise strengthens your intrinsic foot muscles. A towel should be laid out on the floor and then place both feet on the towel. To strengthen the toes curl all your toes on one foot to squeeze part of the towel towards your body Further switch to the right foot and repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times.
- Heel Raises: This exercise would help stabilize your ankle joints as well as reduce the risk for injuries including ankle sprains, and improve balance and coordination. This exercise is performed by lifting your heels as high as you can and holding that position for 3 seconds. Further letting both heels drop and resting for 5 seconds.
- Inward and Outward: This exercise helps with maintaining body balance. For the exercise, position both feet inward while standing so that they are pointing toward each other. Further, shift the position of your feet for both feet to face outward, pointing in opposite directions. It is important to keep your body upright while doing this exercise. These exercises might be difficult if you have poor balance and coordination.
- Toe Spread: For this exercise, sit on a chair and rest your heels on the floor. Further, flex your toes by spreading them apart to feel the stretch and hold the position for 5 seconds. Try to squeeze the toes together inward and hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax the toes.
- Toe Splay: This exercise helps in improving control over the toe muscles. Podiatrists suggest performing the exercise with both feet at once or on alternate feet, depending on which you find more comfortable.
- Sand walking: Walking barefoot on sand is a great stretching and strengthening exercise for feet and calves. This is a good exercise as the sand’s soft texture makes walking more physically demanding.
If you are in pain you can practice below exercises for relief from pain:
- Toe extension: This exercise is useful in preventing or treating plantar fasciitis. This is a condition that causes pain in the heel while walking and difficulty raising the toes.
- Golf Ball Roll: Rolling a ball such as a golf ball under the foot helps to relieve discomfort in the arch and ease pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
- Achilles stretch: This exercise stretches the Achilles tendon, which is a cord connecting the heel to the calf muscles. This tendon is strained easily. Keeping the tendon strong helps with foot, ankle, or leg pain.
PREVENTION OF FOOT PROBLEMS
- Complete a warm-up routine before exercising
- Wear supportive footwear for daily activities and sports.
- Replace worn-down shoes
- Increase strength and flexibility slowly to condition the feet and ankles.
- Avoid uneven surfaces mainly when running.
- Do not overdo the exercise and daily activities.
- Prevent recurrence of injury by resting
- Seeking appropriate treatment when necessary
Healthy feet and ankles is a good idea. Above exercises help in easing the existing pain, preventing discomfort, and reduce the risk of injury.
If you are diagnosed with a foot condition such as plantar fasciitis or strain to the Achilles tendon podiatrist would suggest exercises for relief. Minor foot injuries to arthritis and diabetic foot conditions the expert care and treatment would make your recovery speedy as well as effective.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from foot problems, our expert providers at Specialty Care Clinics will take care of your health and help you recover.