Simple Exercises Can Improve Foot Health
It has been stated that our feet are the most neglected parts of our bodies. Some say we ignore our feet until we can’t. Sounds about right. In an article recently published in the South China Morning Post, the writer lines out two simple exercises that improve the health of our feet.
As it turns out, Joseph Pilates was an early advocate for healthy feet and developed “foot workouts” for his clients. In fact, the first piece of equipment he fashioned was the Foot Corrector, to stretch, strengthen, and stimulate the nerve endings of the foot.
From the article:
The first exercise is modelled after Pilates’ “Toe Gizmo” exercise and is designed to wake up the nerve endings in each toe:
1. Take two rubber wristbands and loop them together to make two long connected loops. Sit down with feet firmly planted on the floor; place one of the loops around the big toe, between the two proximal joints; and hold the other loop in one hand.
2. With the free hand, press the remaining four toes down, and pull up the big toe with the band, really stretching it away from the floor. Feel the neural response through the foot and up the back of the leg.
3. Now, resist the band with the big toe muscles and push the toe back to the ground; keep gentle upward traction with the hand holding the band. Repeat twice on each toe, both feet, working slowly and mindfully.
The second exercise rebalances the tripod of weight bearing:
1. Stand tall in parallel on both legs. Lift the big toes on both feet; notice how that supinates the feet (rolls them out).
2. Keeping big toes lifted, now push the big toe mound (joint) back down, and notice the diagonal strengthening of the foot from big toe joint to outer heel. Repeat.
3. Now lift all toes except for the big toes; notice how that pronates the foot (rolls in). Re-calibrate weight back into pinkie toe joint and feel the opposite foot diagonal strengthening, from outer distal edge to inner heel. Repeat. Try to do both feet at the same time.
The next time you’re wondering why you have that niggling knee pain or tightness in your lower back, take a peek down and see what your feet are up to. Go barefoot. Play with your toes. Treat your feet with the care and love they deserve to keep your body balanced and pain free.
So don’t ignore your feet until you can’t. And see your doctor. (I’m going to say that over and over, kind of like some folks say “Call your Mother” endlessly. Both are good advice.)