Strong feet and toes are the foundation for a smooth, efficient gait, providing a stable and well-balanced base for all movements.
Our foot muscles help to support the arch, keep our toes aligned and straight and help us to maintain balance on one leg.
Lack of adequate foot muscle strength can contribute to the soft tissues beneath our feet (eg. the plantar fascia) becoming overloaded, strained and eventually injured.
What exercises should I be doing?
Here are 3 basic foot strengthening exercises that can help to relieve arch and heel pain.
- Sit on a chair with the feet parallel. Keeping the pads of the toes on the floor, feel like you are creating a dome-shaped space under the knuckles, as if you could hide something under the ball of your foot. Keep the toes long, not scrunched up. Repeat slowly 20 times on each foot.
- Toe Swapping
- Sit on a chair with feet parallel and slowly lift the big toe off the floor keeping all the small toes down. The lower the big toe and raise all the other little toes off the floor. Continue swapping between the big toe and little toes, repeating 20 times.
- Piano playing
- Sit on a chair with feet parallel and lift all of the toes off the floor keeping the ball of the foot on the floor. Place the toes back down on the floor, one by one, starting with your little toe.
Our feet are often the most used, but the most neglected part of the body. Remember, that to perform well in sport and avoid injuries it is important to spend some time building a strong foundation. You can quickly and easily improve the core strength of your feet by performing these exercises regularly.
If your feet move well, you move well.