Give your feet some ease, please!

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under current, Guest Space, Wisdom Space

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Day after day you walk hundreds, hopefully thousands, of steps. You probably don’t think much about your feet until they hurt – that ache in your heel when you first get out of bed in the morning, the pain in the ball of your foot after an evening spent in heels, the throb of the joint of your big toe.

Your feet are completely amazing! With over 33 joints in each foot, they’re designed to contour to the terrain underneath them, allowing you to navigate your world with ease. They could be as dexterous as your hands given the opportunity, but they’ve spent years, decades, a life-time, encased in casts of sorts – shoes – that drastically limit their movement. Movement, the ability to move your body comfortably and with ease, is the foundation of health. It’s what helps deliver life-giving oxygen to feed your cells and what supports the flow of waste removal. Without it, you create an environment ripe for pain and dis-ease.

Ready to create more ease for your feet & say goodbye to foot pain?

Give these 3 foot stretches a try!

1. Top of the foot stretch – while sitting, bring one foot behind you, tucking the toes under and allowing the top of the foot to gently stretch down towards the floor. This is a great stretch for helping to open up the muscles in the top of the foot and start to restore mobility to the forefoot. If you find your foot cramping, take a break and return to the stretch as you are able. Work up to holding this stretch for a minute on each side.

TOF seated

2. Toe stretch – while seated on the floor (or in a chair with your foot crossed over your knee), gently lace the fingers of one hand through the toes of your opposite foot. Start with your fingers closer to the tips of your toes and over time bring your fingers closer to the base of your toes to increase the stretch. This is an easy stretch to do while watching TV and helps to improve circulation to the feet and restore space in between the toes by lengthening the adductor muscles. The more we wear shoes that have a narrow toe box, the shorter, tighter and weaker our adductor muscles become, decreasing circulation and leading to bunions and hammer toes. This stretch helps to counteract those effects.

toe stretch

3. Tennis ball drape – you can try this next exercise while standing or sitting. If your feet are tender or painful, do this seated first and with practice you can eventually transition to doing it standing. Place a tennis ball under the ball of your foot, allowing your foot to drape over it while your heel stays in contact with the floor. Hold here for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the tennis ball under the arch and again just in front of the heel. Before switching the tennis ball to the other foot, notice how different your feet feel. As your foot gently melts over the tennis ball, you are decompression the multitude of joints in your feet, creating more joint space and lengthening the muscles in between the bones. This helps transform your foot from a stiff, unyielding stump at the end of your leg to a mobile, pliable and dexterous part of your body.

tennis ball

Practice these correctives 2-3 times a day and enjoy restoring ease to your feet!

Image credits: Top – Dancing feet; all others Lisa Gillispie

About our Guest Contributor

Lisa-Gillispie-smLisa Gillispie is a Restorative Exercise Specialist™ and Healthy Foot Practitioner™ with a private practice in Columbus, OH. She helps people near and far improve their foot health so they can enjoy a vibrant, active life. Learn more about her online Healthy Feet course here.

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