Are you walking with sore feet? Running with weak ankles? Dancing with tired toes? Cycling with stiff calves? Find yourself stuck all day sitting behind a desk with knee or back pain? Discover easy ways to start alleviating all these little aches and pains with a few quick and easy foot-care stretching and strengthening exercises.
The different ways we use, or misuse, our feet can create annoying foot and ankle problems and be a contributing factor other aches, pains, and injuries. If you’re dealing with an acute injury, be sure to get things checked out and consult with your doctor, and orthopedic specialist, or podiatrist as a precaution before you do anything.
If you’ve been cleared to exercise, it may be time to find new strategies and solutions to keep you healthy and keep your poor tired, achy feet out of trouble. Perhaps it may be time to pay a little more attention to your ankles, arches and toes on a regular basis during your workouts. With even a short 5-10 minutes of dedicated foot fitness training there is a lot you can do to start helping your feet feel better.
Tendons, ligaments, fascia, muscle and bone are all connected. This network of support for our structure has to be in balance for us to enjoy healthy, pain-free movement. Ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone, fascia is the supportive matrix for muscle and muscles move bones.
What Happens When You Have Stiff, Tight, Inflexible Ankles, Arches, and Toes
When the foot and calf muscles are too tight, movement is restricted and more stress is placed on muscle, fascia and tendons which can contribute to Achilles tendon problems, heel pain and plantar fasciitis, just to name a few annoying foot problems.
The result of not enough stretching and poor flexibility… Restricted mobility. Muscles that are too tight may one day “accidentally” get stretched farther than they can comfortably go and – rip, tear, strain and voilà an injury!
The Challenges of Dealing with Weak Feet and Ankles
If muscles are weak, especially along the soles of the feet, there is a good chance that as soon as we start to contract a foot muscle it will cramp or lock up in a spasm! Muscle cramps prevent us from wanting to engage our muscles, so we avoid movement with the ankle, foot or toes that might cause the muscles to cramp. The result of never contracting a muscle… It will get weaker and weaker, and will cramp quicker and more severely if you do anything that requires its use!
How can you balance the work of the muscles along the soles of the feet with an effective stretch to keep the calves, arches, heels and ankles happy?
Here is a very simple point and flex foot and ankle exercise that can help you enjoy healthy feet and improve both strength and flexibility! Use these helpful tips to effectively stretch the calves to keep your calves, heels, and plantar fascia happy AND strengthen the soles of the feet to keep your arches lifted and reduce or eliminate foot cramps.
Foot Fitness for Healthy Feet – Point & Flex Exercise
You can practice pointing and flexing your feet in any position, seated, lying down, both legs at the same time, one leg at a time or with the help of a Yoga strap or theraband. There are lots of options for variety and to help challenge and target all the muscles of your feet, ankles, and legs. Pilates reformer classes emphasized ankle mobility using the plantar flexion and dorsiflexion of the ankle throughout many exercises. Bringing awareness is the first step…now jump on a reformer and see the POINT made!