Did you know that your feet contain about 25 percent of the bones in your entire body? It’s true! Your feet are literally your foundation, but too often they are taken for granted, which can lead to aches, pain, and injuries.
A lot of it has to do with the shoes you wear. Even if you’re a girl who loves shoes (and what girls doesn’t?), it’s more about wearing a pair that provide proper fit, comfort, and support instead of ones that are just super cute and do wonders for the way your legs look.
Think that just because your sneakers are nearly second skin to you, that you’re footwear selection is just fine? Not so. Athletic shoes come in all shapes, sizes, and support types, so it’s important to make sure that your kicks are the right shoe for both your sport and your body. Get professionally fitted at specialty sports stores and pay attention to how your feet feel when doing any activity.
Shoes aside, feet need exercise and stretching just as much as the rest of the body–if not more given how much literal weight is put on them each day. If you’re dealing with achy or tired feet, try some of the following stretches and exercises.
Give your toes a good stretch and add some strength to your shins. Stand on flat bare feet. Stretch your toes as wide apart as you can, hold for five seconds, and then return back to a normal position. Complete this ten times for each foot.
Broken Toe Pose
If your feet tend to cramp up, this yoga pose can help to stretch and ease your pain. Kneel on the ground with your legs going straight back. Curl your toes under so that the soles of your feet are perpendicular with the floor. Gently sit back on your heels and let the weight of your upper body increase the stretch in your toes and arches. This can feel pretty intense for some people. Ease out of it as needed, but try to breathe into the stretch to gain the most benefits. Do three to five rounds at a duration and intensity that is right for you.
Target multiple muscles in your foot and lower legs with this easy exercise. Place a towel on the floor and stand on one end of it. Curl and grip the towel with your toes to pull the length of the towel toward you. Complete this exercise three times.
Walk This Way
Just as your body can become stagnant doing the same exercises all the time, your feet and lower legs feel the same way about how you walk. Switch things up a bit by walking in bare feet on your tiptoes and then just on your heels. You can easily incorporate these walks into simple tasks around your home, such as walking around the kitchen as you cook, or walking to and from the bathroom when you get ready in the mornings.
Perform these exercises each day, or every other day. Be kind to your feet and they’ll support you through whatever activity you throw your way. However, if pain is part of your game, don’t tiptoe around the problem. Walk yourself into a podiatrist and get help for your lower legs right on down to your toes!
What common complaints plague your feet? Share with us in the comments.