Now that you know to NOT stand or walk barefoot on hard surfaces (blogpost 1) AND you know what awesome sandals to wear instead (blogpost 2), let us teach you ways to strengthen your feet to make sure your summer can be full of hiking, biking, camping, traveling, lounging, and anything else that suits your fancy!
Golf ball roll- Rolling a golf ball under the foot can help relieve discomfort in the arch and ease pain. Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor. Place a golf ball, or another small, hard ball, on the floor next to the feet. Lay one foot on the ball and move it around, pressing down as hard as is comfortable. The ball should be massaging the bottom of the foot. Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat using the other foot. A frozen bottle of water can be a soothing alternative if no suitable balls are available.
Achilles stretch- Face a wall and raise the arms so that the palms of the hands are resting flat against the wall. Move one foot back, keeping the knee straight. Then, bend the knee of the opposite leg. Keep both the heels flat on the floor. Push the hips forward until there is a stretching feeling in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Repeat three times on each side.
Toe stretch- Keeping a wide range of motion in the big toe is important. The following exercise will stretch and relieve pain in the toes from wearing tight shoes.Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor. Bring the left foot to rest on the right thigh. Using the fingers, gently stretch the big toe up, down, and to the side. Keep the big toe in each position for 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times before switching to the other foot.
Fist massage- Hold the back of the foot with one hand. Hold a knuckle or full fist on the other hand against the bottom of the foot. Use the knuckle or fist to knead the bottom of the foot, using moderate pressure. Repeat this motion, working down the ball of the foot to the heel. Switch feet.
Towel curls- Place a towel 12 inches or so in front of a chair (a bath towel works best). Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the towel. With your right foot forward and knee bent at 90 degrees, curl your toes and try to grab the towel with them and scrunch it toward you. Try repeating this motion 10 times with each foot. Or once you’ve mastered the technique, try both feet at once!
This FOOT WORK is so powerful and important in the strengthening of your feet. You will certainly feel the difference in a short amount of time. Give it a try! Everything you can do to strengthen and take care of your feet, will reap the benefits, not only in your feet and their ability to support you, but of a strong lower back and hips. A stronger you in a short amount of time. Trust us… it’s worth it!