Treat your feet to no more pain….

    A lot of us experience foot pain during our lifetime. It may start out as small twinges of discomfort that is easy to ignore. However, your aching feet can develop into much bigger foot problems as well as leg, hip and back as well as difficulty walking. However, with the proper attention, including exercises and stretches, you can keep your feet strong, healthy, flexible and pain free. Not only will your feet thank you, you will be able to continue to enjoy the activities that you love and keep you healthy. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    Massage your feet. 
        Take the time to get familiar with the shape of your feet by massaging them on a regular basis. I suggest using a moisturizer or foot cream. Use a gentle but firm pressure, and give a little extra attention to the areas that are tender or sore. 

        You can also use a tennis ball. Stand, place your foot on the ball and firmly and gently press into it, concentrating on the ares of your foot that is tender or feels tight.

    Stretch your calves.
        Stand with both hands against a wall for support. Place on foot forward and the other one back. Bend the front knee, straighten the back knee and press the heel into the floor. Breathe and relax into the stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch legs.

        Repeat the stretch starting with the first side again. This time, slightly bend the back knee as you stretch. The stretch will get deeper into the calf muscles, the Achilles tendon, and will gently mobilize the ankle joint.

    Strengthen the muscles in your feet.
        We have muscles in our feet that support proper foot mechanics in gait and support the the arches. Sit in a chair with your bare foot resting on a towel on the floor. Slowly contract your toes down into the floor and toward your heel to “walk” the towel in toward you. Work one foot at a time. 

     “Play the piano” with your toes. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and work one foot at a time. Lift all off your toes off of the floor. Slowly and meticulously lower one toe to the floor at a time, starting with your pinkie toe and working your way to your big toe. This takes some practice, but you will feel the muscles in your feet getting stronger and more flexible.

    These 3 tips will help you decrease foot pain and keep your feet healthy. There are also many foot products on the market such as rollers, reflexology balls, yoga toes five toe socks and shoes. 

    However, these are not appropriate for individuals with diabetes, impaired circulation, neuropathy or decreased sensation in your feet. Be sure to consult with your health care provider for more guidance on foot care.

    Be healthy! 
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP