If you have foot and ankle pain, you’re not alone. Our feet work so hard and we take them for granted until we're in pain.
Our key message is — take care of your feet because it's hard to exercise or even walk when they're painful.
With this in mind, we've pulled together the key exercises we recommend to help keep your feet strong and flexible.
1. Calf/arch stretch
This exercise is to stretch the muscles in the arch of your foot and calf.
- It's best to do this exercise on a step. If you don't have a step use a phone book.
- Stand with the ball of your foot (the front of your foot) on the step.
- Drop your foot down, reaching for the bottom of the step with your heel until you feel a stretch through the arch of the foot.
- Hold the stretch for 10-12 seconds
- Hold onto the back of a chair or the wall for balance.
- Repeat the stretch three times.
2. Arch strengthening to reduce heel pain
This stretch strengthens the muscles in your feet so your symptoms improve more quickly.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart, on a step with your toes elevated.
- Slowly raise your heels as high as you can manage — take at least three seconds.
- Hold in position at the top for two seconds.
- Slowly lower your heels as far as possible. Take at least three seconds.
- Repeat this several times on each foot.
- Keep safe by holding on to a chair or a wall.
3. Tennis ball foot massage
This exercise relieves the tension in the ligaments and muscles on the bottom of your feet and stimulates blood flow in the area.
If the first few steps of your day are painful, this exercise will help.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with the tennis ball under your toes.
- roll the ball from your toes back to your heel, applying as much pressure as you can tolerate.
- Roll the ball around in small circles under your forefoot.
- Now roll the ball around in small circles under the arch of your foot.
- Then move to your heel. Roll the ball around in small circles under your heel.
- Repeat on your other foot.
4. Saying your prayers
This exercise helps to stretch the tissues thorugh the bottom of your feet and extends the range of motion in your feet.
- Kneel on the ground, curling your toes underneath.
- Turn your ankles out so that all your toes are in contact with the ground.
- Slowly lower yourself so that yur bottom is resting on your feet — if this is possible.
- Hold for several seconds and repeat several times.