We rely on our feet to get us around, support us in exercise & provide critical feedback on our balance & stability. Yet we tend to neglect our most important foundations–until they give us trouble. The moves below also help with tight arches or ankles, which can lead to stress and strain in the knee & hip joints as well as increase our risk of tripping (and falling!).
I discovered these tricks when trying to find relief for a chronically painful spot on the ball of my foot – a neuroma, I have since learned. Also, clients with sore thighs after hiking are often surprised to find out that an inflexible foot was actually the culprit
Relief is simple: preempt foot pain and improve balance & function with a few simple stretches and tennis ball rolls.
First roll the length of your bare foot over a tennis ball 10-20 times.
Next, pause and press over the arch & any tight spots. Finally, stretch the top of the foot, ankle & shin: stand 1-2 feet from a wall, facing away. Bring the top of one foot against the wall behind you (your toes will point toward ceiling). Gently and gradually orient that knee to the floor and lean back towards wall against your bent leg. Bring heel towards glute and stand up tall. Hold 10-60 seconds. Repeat 2-3x.