The Secret to Good Looking Feet
We assume that there is nothing we can do to change our feet and put up with bunions, corns and hard skin. We envy those with strong, healthy feet who look good in cute strappy sandals. We also assume that painful knees, hips and possibly backs are not related to foot funtion. I'm here to say if we look after our feet properly then not only can we avoid bunions and corns but we can often help to avoid knee and hip pain.
The following exercises are designed to keep your feet healthy.
Foot massage - Mobilise all the little bones in the foot by a deep tissue massage of the foot
Mexican Wave - Peel the toes of the floor one toe at a time starting with the big toe and ending with the little toe. Return to the floor one toe at a time from little toe to big toe.
Weight lifting for the toes - Using a band, wrap it aroung the base of the big toe. Using a small amount of resistance curl the toe away from the band. The big toe is a special case as it is very important and functions at its best when straight, so we can use this exercise to help strengthen the muscles that will straighten the toe. If you pull the inside band out at right angles to the toe and increase resistance as the toe curls over, you will help track the toe straighter and strengthen the muscles in the instep and inner side of the foot. These are the muscles that will help to straighten the toe. Its vitally important to work on this if you have bunions in the family or have started to develop a bunion as this is a progressive condition and needs to be stopped in its tracks.
When working with the rest of the toes, use a small amount of tension in the band with both bands drawn straight away from the toes. This will strengthen the intrinsic muscles within the foot and help to reduce the risk of corns.
Working the Arches - Keeping the toes straight whilst lifting the arch of the foot away from the floor will strengthen the arches. This is very important because if the arches drop and the instep collapses then a flat foot develops, the ankle then collapses inwards and the knee function is compromised and can lead to painful knees.
Cherry Picking - This exercise works all the muscles in the foot and calf and helps keep the foot and ankle strong and flexible. Hold behind the knee so the foot is slightly off the floor. Point the ankle and then curl the toes over (picking an imaginary cherry). Then flex at the ankle, keeping the toes curled over as you do this, then pointing the toes to the chest to increase the stretch in the calf. In a full movement try to do anklel movement first followed by toe movement to maximise the stretch in the shin and calf muscle.