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Foot Exercise Definition
Foot exercise is a widely used balance training intervention that develops recently to improve ankle proprioception and strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles (IFM) to elevate and support the medial longitudinal arch (MLA) of the foot and enhance dynamic standing balance.
The foot is our link with mother earth, with the ground we step on is a smooth surface in the city or an irregular relief in the field or the mountains.
They adapt, give us stability, provide us with balance, cushion our jumps, and are very light. They also preserve the bone and muscle structure of our body.
Considering their services, we should dedicate a little more attention, care, and affection to them.
An Imbalance in the Foot Affects the Whole Body
- Surprisingly, a foot makes up of 28 bones of very different shapes and sizes. It is a large number of pieces that, like a puzzle, fit together perfectly.
- Joints are located between each pair of bones, allowing mobility between them.
- The reason why the foot has so many bones and so small is precisely that: it needs to continuously adapt to the surface, adopting a different position at each step.
- If we look at any of the lower fingers, we will see that they separate into two parts. Although the prehensile function of grasping almost forgot, we still need that division to help us take off when we take a step forward.
- Each bone and each joint plays an essential role in this movement: the ankle helps with training, the heel balances on all types of terrain, etc.
- And how many steps do we take a day? A small mismatch in such a repeated process affects everyday life: stumbling, disorientation, confusion.
- Sometimes it is enough to examine the shoes’ sole to verify that it is more worn on one adjacent than on the other, which indicates a mismatch that can affect the body.
- That is why it is essential to know how you step, how each foot is supported, and how the body’s weight distribute.
- Also, an imbalance in the feet transmits upwards, so that the consequences suffer in other areas of the body: the knees, hips, back. You will find more information at the end of the article, after the exercises.
Best 10 Foot Exercises to Protect Back
This simple act of attention often improves balance and back alignment. Exercises to increase stability improve perception when stepping, are simple and require little time. It always recommends, but it is essential if you have gone through an extended immobilization.
1. Massage the Feet
- This exercise relieves tired feet. Lay a folded bath towel on the floor and top it with a plastic bottle filled with water.
- Massage the sole from top to bottom, from toes to heel.
- You can fill the bottle with cold water on hot days, which activates circulation and relaxes the foot.
- If you are cold in winter, you can exercise with hot water, which is also relaxing.
- Do it with both feet.
2. Relax the Foot Muscles
- Sitting in a comfortable posture, carry one ankle over the knee of the opposite leg. Keep your back straight.
- Hold the ankle with one hand and all the toes of that foot with the other.
- Performing an undulating rhythmic movement mobilizes all the joints from the ankle to the toes’ base, feeling how the bones of the foot move.
- You will be able to relax and activate the ligaments and give them flexibility. Could you do it now with the other foot?
- This exercise regulates muscle tone and modiﬁes the height of the plantar arch by reducing its tension.
3. Draw Circles with the Ankles
- In the same sitting position, extend one leg without touching the ground and draw a circle in the air with your fingers.
- Feel how all the bones of the foot stretch. You will be able to make the tendons and ligaments that surround the ankle ﬂexible.
- Could you do it now with the other foot? This exercise helps maintain stability.
4. Flexion and Extension
- Stand up and flex one foot back and forth, seeking the limit of flexion and extension. Feel the calf muscles rise and fall.
- Thus, the toning of the tendons attached to each of the fingers increases, and the posterior leg muscles strengthen without receiving a body load.
- Repeat the exercise with the other foot.
5. Walk on Tiptoe like a Cat
- He walks on tiptoe with bare feet, imitating a feline.
- Make sure the movement is flexible and elastic.
- The heels and knees should remain straight, keeping the feet as parallel as possible.
- In this exercise, you experience stability and relaxation.
6. Train your Grip with your Feet
- Once your muscles are warmed up, try lifting a cloth off the floor with your toes. Flex all the metatarsal joints.
- This exercise recommends working the stiffness of the fingers.
- It also releases joint tension and prevents possible bone calcifications that form over time. It is handy to recover after a bunion operation.
7. About One Foot
- Hold for about 30 seconds in the flamingo pose, as in the photo.
- To do this, standing with your back straight and your arms relaxed next to your body, carry your weight on one leg and flex the other back as if you wanted to bring your heel towards your buttock.
- Ensure that the supporting leg’s heel keeps straight and the big toe is in contact with the ground.
- The raised leg’s knee should keep close to the other, although slightly forward if you need to.
- The pelvis should be tilted slightly to the side of the supporting leg, with the coccyx forward to avoid straining the lumbar.
- Try to stay still in this position and breathe. Feel how the joints of the foot move and the ligaments work to maintain stability. Repeat the exercise with the other foot.
8. Muscle Pumping
- Standing, without moving, lift first one heel and then the other, rhythmically. In this way, the blood pumping to the muscles activate.
- When the foot does not receive weight, the venous system or return circulation stimulates.
- If you lift your feet once or twice a second, your cadence roughly corresponds to your heart rate and walking pace.
9. Walk-in Slow Motion
This exercise aims to discover the art of the anatomical gait of the foot when we walk.
To do this, slow down your step as if you were doing it in slow motion and feel at each moment how the weight distributes from the Achilles tendon to the toes.
It does in four phases:
- Feel the contact of the heel when you step on the ground.
- Now feel the landing of the flat sole.
- Raise your heel and feel the weight at the base of your toes.
- Be aware of your forefoot push to move forward.
- After take-off, the fingers should remain relaxed. Practice for a few minutes to become familiar with the movements of the foot.
10. Stretch the Sole
- Squat down with knees together and drop all weight onto the balls of your feet (the balls of toes).
- Rest your hands on the ground for more excellent stability. This exercise can hold for a minute or two.
- The plantar stretch increases the foot’s flexor tendons’ flexibility and the consistency of the ligaments surrounding the metatarsal joints.
Whether you do these foot stretches and strengthening exercises regularly, your feet will thank you. The stiffness and aches will subside. The activities can reduce your heel and arch pain and even prevent hammertoes and toe cramps.
Before you start doing these exercises, warm up a small bit. Walk around the house for a minute or sit on a stationary bike. You want to get some blood flowing before you extend your tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
These exercises and stretches haven’t been painful. Be light with yourself. You could be urgent too hard on the tennis ball or stretching too far. Ease up a bit.
If foot exercise still hurts, prevent the exercise, and ask your doctor about how to proceed. If any of the orders aren’t clear or don’t seem to help your problem, call your doctor for some guidance.