Sore feet and exercise; boy they can go together! Is there hope? Yes.
There is hope in helping the average sore foot, because the average sore foot hurts because it’s not taken care of. Other foot aches and pains are between you and your doctor. Most everyone will have something their doctor needs to look at, from bunions to arthritis, the list is almost endless. Once the doctor has looked at your feet, the question then becomes, “What can I do myself proactively that will help my feet not ache, or not ache as much?”
This is best explained by example. Let’s use the image of a person who knits regularly. If this person knitted for hours on a given day, their hands will usually become sore, and perhaps cramped. At this point the person will usually put down the knitting and stretch and rub their fingers. This is because when the hands are cramped and the muscles tight, we can’t use them effectively. It’s almost instinctive. If the hands cramp up, we rub them out and stretch the fingers, or something. Yet do we do the same for our feet?
Most of us don’t do anything for the feet, yet we use them every day. And if you haven’t stretched or loosened your feet and toes up in years, then you are most likely going to start taking smaller steps and or pull something in the feet or toes. Most people who have tight feet and tendons are constantly on the edge of hurting themselves. Please get into the habit of keeping your feet loose and flexible.
So how do we loosen and strengthen the feet? Here are some ideas for you to get started and share with your doctor or PT first:
- Stretch your toes each day. Stretch them forward and backward. This is easy if you can reach them, but if you can’t here are some ideas:
- To stretch them backwards (towards the top of the foot), sit up tall in a chair, feet flat on the floor, shoes off, and gently push your toes into the floor and lift your heels up as high as they can go and pushing the toes back, feeling the stretch not only in your toes but up through the arch of the foot. For some of you, this movement will be minimal, and your doctor may not want you to do this, but most of us should be able. (See your PT for specific exercises for your feet.) Do this once for about a minute, one foot at a time.
- To stretch them forwards (toward the bottom of the foot) you need to be creative if you can’t reach them. Some people while sitting will rest one foot on top of the other and curl the toes down on the top foot. Others will stand and while holding onto something solid, lift one foot behind them, resting the tops of the toes on the floor to get a good stretch. Do this once for 10-30 seconds on each foot.
- Do foot rolls each day. Rolling the feet around in big circles both ways and side to side keeps extra mobility in the feet.
- Foot Circles: Roll them ten times to the right in a full circle, tracing a circle as big as your feet. Do this to the left as well.
- Feet Side to Side: Resting the heels on the ground, move the toes side to side as if you were making your toe move like a windshield wiper back and forth. Make the feet move side to side, NOT turning the legs side to side. Ten times on each foot.
Get used to the feeling of looser toes, feet, and ankles. Please understand that if you just get out and push yourself to walk faster, with bigger steps, and the tendons in your feet are tight, at some point in time, you will pull something. Most aches in the feet can be managed, and for those chronic issues, extra flexibility and mobility are a wise and safe idea. So go get those feet stretched out. Blessings.
~Because you’re stronger than you think, and you can do more than you know!~
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at John@wizardofyouth.com and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com and http://fitness4charity.org