There’s quite a bit of focus on fitness these days but did you ever stop to think that your feet play a part in almost any kind of exercise you do? That’s why at Great Neck Family Foot Care, we want to remind patients that exercising and stretching your feet and toes is important. The many joints, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments of the feet receive a tremendous amount of pressure and use. Keeping them flexible and pain-free will improve your podiatric health and ultimately your overall body fitness. Try these exercises recommended by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society:
- Marble Pick Up: Sitting in a chair, spread 20 marbles on the floor within easy reach. Pick up the marbles, one at a time with your toes and drop into a bowl. Repeat with your other foot. This exercise can help with hammertoe, pain in the ball of the foot and toe cramps.
- Golf Ball Roll: To help relieve arch strain, plantar fasciitis and foot cramps, sit in a chair and roll a golf ball under the forefoot of each foot for two to three minutes.
- Toe raise, point, curl: From a seated position, start with feet flat on the floor. Raise both feet up onto the forefoot (ball of your foot) and hold for five seconds; then rise up onto the tips of the toes and hold for five seconds. Lower feet back to flat on the floor position and curl toes under for five seconds. Plantar fasciitis and shin splints can both be helped with this exercise.
- Toe Pulls and Big Toe Pulls: Sit in chair and put a thick rubber around all five toes on one foot. Spread toes open and hold for 5 seconds; repeat 10 times. Put rubber band on toes of the other foot and repeat. For the Big Toe Pull, sit with your two big toes next to each other and stretch a rubber band around them. Stretch the toes away from each other, towards the little toes; hold stretch for five seconds. Repeat 10 times. These two exercises are helpful for bunions and toe cramps.
- Beach Walk: Here’s one that’s not too much of a strain—take a walk barefoot on the beach. The resistance from the sand strengthens foot and toe muscles.
Being proactive in the health of your feet is essential. If you have concerns or questions about your toes, feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists, Dr. Alec Hochstein or Dr. Diana Gagliano at our Great Neck office by calling (516) 482-5999. If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you—Great Neck Family Foot Care now makes house calls.