Fitness Post – Exercises to Strengthen Your Feet

In my Health Post I talked about the cause of most knee pain being disfunctional movement through either problems in the lower back including the pelvis and/or flattened arches of the feet. I also stated that I would go through  a simple, small series of exercises in this Fitness Post. 

Walking on uneven surfaces such as grass or sand with bare feet will help a lot, but for those who live in a climate that is not conducive to wearing bare feet, it is not practical. Also there are a few people who live on or close to a beach but the four simple exercises I will go through can be done anywhere where you have a surface to walk on. You could do these exercises in the office or at home.

Most of us take no notice as to the care of our feet until we have a problem…either with a foot or feet themselves, or lower leg repetitive strain injuries or knee problems. If you think about it, your feet take a lot of stress and strain throughout most days and we take them for granted without giving them the care and attention they need. If you’ve ever had a therapeutic foot massage, you’ll know what I mean as the therapist will cause a lot of discomfort as they work at getting the muscles in your lower legs and intrinsic to the feet to relax!

An easy way to check the condition of your feet if you don’t suffer any great pain at the moment is to look at your bare feet in a low mirror. You will more than likely see that our feet become distorted wearing shoes for most of our day. The large toes usually don’t match up to the natural line of your feet in that they point inwards and you cannot spread your toes as they seem to be jammed together. Quite often there’s an inwards collapse of the arches that run along the feet. Podiatrists will give you the inserts to correct some of these problems but the best approach is to build up the strength of your feet to negate any long term problems further up the kinetic chain such as knee and/or back problems?

The Four Exercises 

These exercises are best done in bare feet, but if it is too cold or not convenient (such as if you are doing these exercises at work), wear socks. 

  1. As the photo above depicts, the first exercise is to walk on your toes. Try to get as high as you can while keeping balance. Walk for an allotted distance such as 10 meters or time such as 20 – 30 seconds.
  2. The second simple exercise is to walk on your heels. Do this for the same allotted distance or time as you did walking on your toes. (See photo below).
  3. The third exercise is to walk on the outsides of your feet and again for the same distance or time you did with the first two exercises. (See photo below).
  4. The fourth exercise is to walk on the insides of your feet. This is harder to do and notice what your arms and hands do to compensate for this very unnatural movement. (It may be unnatural for some but quite often you will see this in toddlers…or people with very flattened arches!) Do this exercise for the same distance or time it took for the first three exercises. (See photo below).

They are easy to do and you can repeat them several times in your day. It may be a good excuse for you the get up and move around during your day if you are stuck at a desk? As I’ve said even though two of these photos show someone wearing shoes, it is best to wear bare feet.
If you have recurring knee problems try to get to a specialist who can help you but best take affirmative action yourself and prevent the knee problems from occurring in the first place? 

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