Foot pain is unfortunately a common problem that many of us experience, and it can have a huge impact on your physical health. Foot pain will directly impact the way you walk and stand; and causing additional pain in the ankles, knees, and lower back when untreated. Here are a few low-impact exercises that are easy to do and can help reduce foot and ankle pain, courtesy of California-based Podiatric Doctor, Schlomo Schmuel. These exercises will help with foot strength and mobility to improve overall foot health, reduce pain and help runners reduce pain after a workout.
To increase the range of motion in the front of your foot and reduce foot pain and cramping often caused by pushing off when running, Dr. Schlomo Schmuel suggests trying calf raise exercises to increase arch strength. Standing with your feet about hip-wide, raise your heels until you are lifting onto the big toe, keeping the ball of each of your feet on the ground. Do these exercises before a run to help ease foot pain, or complete them five times daily, a three to four times a week for strength.
To strengthen your Achilles, heel, and calf; complete the calf stretch before a run, workout, or before bed a few times per week. To do so, prop the foot against a wall or on the first step of a flight of stairs with the heel on the ground and the ball of the foot against the wall or step. Lean gently towards the wall, holding a nice stretch for 15–30 seconds at a time for each foot, several times per day.
To help treat plantar fasciitis, which causes pain and inflammation along the bottom of the foot, try toe presses daily to strengthen your arches. According to Schlomo Schmuel, this type of pain is common in runners, and the toe press exercise can help to alleviate pain and strengthen your feet. Standing with your feet about hip-width apart, lift and spread your toes as far as possible. Hold them aloft as long as you can without feeling additional pain. Once you lower your toes to the ground, press your big toe into the ground while ensuring no other part of your foot lifts up. Do this exercise 10 times daily, several times a week, or following a run.
To strengthen your hips and reduce foot pain and injury, try single-leg hops, which help improve coordination of your foot, ankle, and hip. Standing on one leg, jump forward and land on bended knee, softly. Repeat this exercise on the same leg, then move on to the other side. Dr. Schlomo Schmuel suggests adding this to your routine three times per week, conducting three sets of five hops per leg.
To strengthen your Achilles tendon and help reduce the impact of your foot striking the ground, especially when running, try heel raise exercises. Standing on the edge of a stairway, place your hands on the railing or wall for support and transfer your weight onto one leg. Lower that heel towards the floor and then push up, raising the heel above the step. Keep your leg bent throughout the exercise and then repeat with the opposite leg. Do these twice, 15 times per leg, a few times a week.
One way to reduce foot pain is by using a foot roller. Place the roller underneath the heel of one foot and roll it forward and backwards 10 times, then switch to the other foot. You can do this exercise multiple times daily, from a sitting or standing position.
Each of these exercises are designed to target a specific area of your feet, calves, or Achilles to provide additional strength to the foot. This list requires little to no equipment and can be done by anyone, regardless of their physical abilities. This is by no means medical advice, if you are experiencing prolonged pain that is not being alleviated by these exercises, Dr. Schlomo Schmuel strongly suggests seeking medical help.