Foot Care Tips
Let’s talk about feet! Our feet are often the most overlooked part of the body when it comes to self-care, and arguably the most important part of the body in regard to daily activities, exercise, and athletic performance as they are quite literally what connects us to the ground and direct how all of that force is distributed through the body. Many injuries, aches, and pains can be impacted by foot care, whether symptoms are localized here or not. Here is some information explaining some of the basics and some tips that might be worth incorporating!
- Common area of pain in active individuals and those with more sedentary life/job
- Common diagnoses include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, bone spurs, stress fractures, etc
- The arches of the foot act as the body’s initial shock absorber, acting almost like a spring
- Must be mobile and strong enough to adapt to variety of surface and force changes
- If this is a weak link, can lead to direct injury or overstress the rest of the chain up to the low back
- Often overlooked, but it’s just like the rest of the body
- Stretch, mobilize, strengthen, and stabilize the structures of the foot (see below)
- Let them be free
- Get out of your shoes at home
- Walk on a variety of surfaces if able
- Give them attention
- Exercises, warm up, recovery (try rolling on a small ball or frozen water bottle)
- Try shoe changes or orthotics – small/gradual changes
- Everyone is different, but if it’s not working, consider trying a different type of shoe
- Ask your physical therapist for recommendations!
Try these exercises out!
- Toe Yoga
- Isolate various movements of the toes including splaying the toes apart and lifting the big toe separate from the others.
- Eccentric Heel Raise
- On a small step, raise up on your toes, then slowly lower heels down until you feel a stretch in the calves. Hold this stretch, then repeat, emphasizing the slow, controlled lowering.
- Single Leg Balance Variations
- Control single leg stance, try incorporating various limb movements to further challenge stability
- Manual mobilization
- Interlace fingers and toes, mobilize foot/toes all different directions.
- Towel Crunches
- Try crunching up a towel with your toes
By Brad Penning, DPT, PT, DN Cert, CBFE – Avon Clinic
I became a PT because as an exercise and sports enthusiast, I have always been interested in learning more about how the human body moves and how to use this to help someone optimize their function and performance.
My favorite part about my job is that I truly enjoy getting to meet a wide variety of individuals and help them reach their specific goals.
Fun fact about me is that I am married to Taylor who is our Occupational Therapist and we have a small family including our son Kirk who was born in May 2021 and a Corgi named Navy, who each have varying degrees of love for my obsession with Michigan football and smoking meats.