Try This Foot Workout for Better Balance
Next time you hit the gym, think about trying a new foot workout, too. Better yet? Just try it at home. Because, either way, these few simple steps can help you achieve less foot pain, fewer injuries, and better balance, too! Here’s how and why it works!
Why try a foot workout?
Our podiatrists in Spring and Tomball TX know that foot health is key to overall health. But you don’t have to take our word for it. This 2020 study showed that training your feet could reduce running injuries by as much as 95%. And this 2022 study showed that older adults could improve their strength, balance and mobility, while also reducing fall risk, simply by training their intrinsic foot muscles.
But why can a foot workout impact the rest of your body so dramatically? It’s fairly simple, really. Your feet are the base for your entire body. When they aren’t functioning optimally, the trouble flows upward. And that can lead to knee, hip and back pain, just to name a few concerns. Want to avoid the pain and get your feet in tip-top shape? Try this series of exercises for the feet, repurposed from The Wall Street Journal.
The beauty of these protective exercises for your feet is that you can do them anywhere, anytime and get so much benefit. In fact, you could start practicing right now, while you’re reading this post!
1. Big and Little Toe Presses
This move will help strengthen your big toe, improving balance and stride. To start, press your foot flat while spreading your toes. Try to press just your big toe into the ground, while keeping your other toes relaxed and preserving the arch in your foot. Hold for several seconds, and repeat up to 50 times before switching sides. After completing reps for both feet, reverse the move, pressing your baby toes into the ground while keeping your big toe relaxed.
2. Big and Little Toe Raises
Designed to strengthen your big toe, this exercise keeps your gait optimal and can help prevent overuse injuries in other parts of the body. To start, place your foot on the ground, with weight spread evenly and toes spread as well. Now, raise just your big toe off the ground while the others remain flat, without scrunching. Keep your big toe raised for a beat before lowering slowly to the ground. Once you’ve completed reps on both feet, switch up the moves and raise the lesser toes while keeping your big toe down. At first, you may need to use your hands to help lift your big toe or to keep your small toes on the ground.
3. Foot Rolling
When it’s unintentional, pronation (when your feet roll inward as you walk) or supination (when they roll outward) can leave you with foot pain or injury. However, with this part of your foot workout, you’re intentionally rolling your feet with control, to avoid unintentional movement when you walk or run.
To start, place the outside of your foot on the edge of a stair, holding onto a wall or railing for balance. Keep your big and second toe on the ground, while the others toes are left hovering. Now, roll your foot inward, so that the arch rises and your big toe stays pressing into the ground. Then, roll outward so your small toes press into the ground, while the big toe rises. Repeat 10 times in each direction, then switch feet.
When to See a Podiatrist
While a great foot workout can help strengthen your feet and toes, these moves are unlikely to cure existing foot or heel pain. Need to feel better now? Reach out to our team and request an appointment at our podiatry practice in Spring or in Tomball.