The feet ache after a long day of walking around the office or on the streets. Foot exercises not only improve foot health but also lower the risk of injury.
Flexibility and resistance exercises keep your feet healthy. We introduce a few foot exercises that will improve overall foot health.
Why do foot problems occur?
Standing over the years impacts the feet. It wears down the cushion and padding under the heel. The ankles become less flexible, and the joints on the feet lengthen.
Medical conditions increase the risk of foot problems. For example, diabetes may damage the feet. The hardening of the arteries may also cause foot problems.
Common types of Foot Problems
So, what are the types of foot problems that occur as a result of not exercising the feet? The most common complaints are:
First of all are bunions. These are deformities of the joint that connect the big toe and the foot.
It happens when the big toe bends towards the others, causing the joint to redden and become painful. Bunions occur gradually, with complications that include arthritis and bursitis.
Calluses occur when some areas on the skin of the feet thicken because of friction, irritation or pressure. They happen when a person walks too much or wears the wrong footwear.
A hammertoe occurs when the joints of the second, third, and fourth toes become bent and resemble a hammer.
As with calluses, hammertoes happen when a person wears poorly fitting footwear. The may cause the muscles of the toes to contract.
4. Foot Problems related to Diabetes
Diabetes may trigger foot problems like a lack of circulation or a loss of feeling. Foot exercises and pressing on the pressure points on the feet will help.
Foot deformities may occur because of arthritis and gout.
6. Heel Pain
You may feel pain at the back of the foot arch because of heel spurs (bony undergrowth) or inflamed foot ligaments.
The Benefits of Foot Exercises
Why should we do workouts for the feet? After all, they’re not typically the focus of attention. There are a few reasons we should keep them in good health. This study reveals that short foot exercises have benefits for an athlete’s feet.
1. Improves Flexibility
Some foot exercises keep the feet limber and enhance their flexibility. They work even if your feet have stiffened with age,-you can make them flexible no matter how old you are. Slow and gentle stretches help with this.
2. Raises resistance
These exercises involve the muscles working against some resistance. They strengthen the feet and support them.
Resistance exercises involve using compression bands which come in different colors.
3. Improves cardiovascular health and circulation
Foot exercises enhance cardiovascular health and blood flow. They also improve your mood.
4. Foot Problems are Common
One in three people over age 65 has foot problems, particularly those in care facilities — these result from wearing poorly-fitting shoes. These impact people with health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, or cardiovascular disease. 75% of the foot problems that occur in older adults are bunions, calluses, and other deformities.
9 Simple Foot Exercises to Relieve Pain and Swelling
Fortunately, there are foot exercises that help to ease some of these conditions. Try these as you sit in front of the television or an office chair.
1. Toe Curls
Do this exercise in three stages. They help with conditions such as bunions and hammertoes.
Sit straight in your chair and put your feet on the floor. Keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels. Stop when only the balls of your feet touch the ground. Stay in this position for about five seconds before lowering your heels.
Lift your heels and point your toes so that only the tips of the big and second toes touch the floor. Stay in this position for five seconds before lowering your feet.
Raise the heel and bend the toes inward so that they hit the floor. Stay like this for five seconds.
2. Big Toes Stretches
Sit up in a char and put your feet on the floor. Rest your left foot on your right thigh. Use your fingers and gently stretch the big toe up, down, and to the side. Stay in this position for about five seconds. Repeat this exercise about ten times before switching to the other foot.
3. Toe Splay
Toe splays help you control your toe muscles. You can do this with both feet at once or on alternate feet, depending on your comfort.
Sit in a chair with a straight back, resting your feet gently on the floor. Spread your toes apart, but avoid straining them. Hold this position for about five seconds, repeating this exercise ten times.
4. Toe Curls
Toe Curls develop the flexor muscles on the feet and toes. They improve flexibility.
Sit up straight in a chair and put your feet on the floor. Lay a towel on the floor in front of you, with the short side facing you.
Put your toes of one of your feet on this side. Try grabbing them and pulling them towards you. Repeat this five times before switching to the other foot.
5. Marble Pickup
Sit up straight in your chair with your feet on the floor. Put an empty bowl and one filled with marbles in front of the feet
Use only the toes of one of your feet, pick up each one, and place it in the empty bowl. Repeat this exercise using the other foot.
6. Sand Walking
This exercise stretches and strengthens the feet and calves. Go to a beach. Remove your shoes and socks. Walk for as long as you can, increasing the distance over time.
7. Toe Extension
This exercise removes the pain in the heel as you walk.
Sit up straight in your chair, putting your feet on the floor. Put your left foot on your right thigh. Pull the toes toward the ankle. You should experience a stretch along the foot and heel cord. Hold this position for about ten seconds.
8. Golf Ball Roll
Sit up in a chair and put your feet flat on the floor. Put a golf ball on the floor next to the feet. Lay a foot on the ball and move it about, pressing down on it as hard as you can. Continue for about two minutes, then repeat on the other foot.
9. Achilles Stretch
This exercise massages the Achilles heel, which is a cord that connects the heel to the calf muscles. It helps with foot, ankle or leg pains.
Face a wall and raise your arms. Rest your palms flat against the wall. With one foot back, keep your knee straight. Bend the knee of the opposite foot, and keep your heels on the floor.
Hold for thirty seconds before switching to the other foot. Repeat thrice on each side.
In all, the pain in your feet doesn’t have to be permanent. These foot exercises will relieve it to some extent.
By Michelle L.