June 3, 2013
Like the rest of your body, your feet need exercise to stay in great shape. Try these moves, from New York City podiatric surgeon Jacqueline Sutera, morning and night.
- Toe grip (to strengthen the foot muscles to improve balance): Drop a sock on the floor and use your toes to grip and lift it off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot.
- Toe extension (to strengthen and support the muscles, which in turn will protect the bones of the feet): Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.
- Calf raise (to strengthen the feet and the calves and improve balance): Stand near a counter or a doorway and hold on lightly for balance. Balance on one foot and rise up onto your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
- Calf stretch (to keep the Achilles tendons and the plantar fasciae from getting tight): Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.
Once you’ve finished these exercises, reward your hardworking feet with a frozen-golf-ball massage. “The icy, textured hard ball can get into the tiny muscles of the foot and give you a deep massage,” says Sutera. Simply pop a ball in the freezer for a few hours, then roll under each foot while sitting down.