Happy New Year! I hope this year is filled with fun, exercise, healthy eating and less stress in your life!
At some point in our lives, we may experience foot discomfort. Whether it comes from the wrong pair of shoes, overdoing an activity or plain tight and weak muscles that support the foot. The foot has over 206 bones, which sounds like a lot, and it is. When muscles get tight, we may stub a toe or sprain an ankle. Things start to shift quickly. We have the ability to compensate temporarily, but if this goes on too long, we can have even more pain. So if you are one of many who have foot discomfort, it may be time to see a podiatrist or hire a trainer to help you do some appropriate exercises that can help give you relief.
At To Fit You, we start by asking what you think may be causing your discomfort, and then we do some assessments to see what might be going on. What I find is typically tight and weak muscles that surround the foot, which hinders the mechanics of proper foot movement while walking. So let’s talk about the mechanics of the foot.
The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. This equates to about 115,000 miles during an average lifetime — or walking the circumference of the Earth more than four times. So here are three ways to strengthen your feet:
- Exercise your feet. Exercises like the ones on this page will strengthen your feet, ankles and calves while improving flexibility. Additionally, these exercises can help you move with better balance, power and control. Perform these exercises for 15 minutes every day to increase the strength and flexibility of your feet. Note: Talk with your doctor before starting a foot exercise program, especially if you have fallen arches.
- Strengthen your feet’s arches. For your feet to function properly, you need to have foot core strength. In other words, you need strong, stable muscles in your feet’s arches. Many people think they have one arch in their feet. However, you actually have three arches: lateral (outside), transverse (center), and medial (inside) arches. These arches all work together when you stand, walk, run or jump. When your arches function properly, they provide foot core strength, balance and power. Exercises like toe splaying and big toe presses can help strengthen your arches.
- Walk barefoot. Take your shoes off when you’re walking around your home to reengage the muscles in your feet. Removing your shoes helps reestablish important neural connections between the large and small intrinsic muscles in your feet that may be inhibited while wearing shoes.
I hear from my clients a lot that “there is nothing I can do. It’s just a normal part of aging to have aches and pains.” The good news is that is not true! All of my clients have had less pain and discomfort in general but specifically less foot pain.
So if you are ready to move and feel better, let me help you by giving you back your happy feet.
President & CEO, To Fit You
1750 Seamist Dr., Suite 170, Building 1
Houston, TX 77008