Bodily aches and pain that’s chronic can wreak havoc on our daily lives and make us feel plain miserable. Out of all the types of pain ailments that people complain of, back pain is the number one most common. It’s so widespread that an estimated 80% or more of the total worldwide population will suffer from it at some point in life. Trailing slightly behind the back is pain located in the knees and hips, which are all linked to one another in some fashion or degree.
Oftentimes the source, or a major contributing factor, of persistent lower back, hip, and knee pain is our feet. The two things we stand on all throughout the day that take us places also take a beating in the process. It’s easy to overlook and take them for granted, but if you want better overall health and less bodily pain, the key lies in taking care of your feet. That means wearing supportive and comfortable shoes, stretching toes out, giving ourselves a good foot massage, and exercising them for strength which ultimately helps to improve balance.
If you suffer from chronic back, knee or hip pain that heating pads and medications don’t alleviate, you may want to try the following foot strengthening exercises. They may be the natural remedy you’ve overlooked or been missing and once you start working out your feet, you’re also working on preventing pain from popping up elsewhere in your body. That’s because human feet have over 15,000 nerves located in them and they all connect to form a network that reaches different areas of the body, such as our main organs and glands. People have found that by doing the simple techniques covered below they could dramatically relieve pain and discomfort caused by many common ailments. Here’s the best foot exercises you can do in the comfort of your home:
1. Resisted Plantar Flexion – This exercise is covered fully in the accompanying video which demonstrates exactly how to do it. These are simple yet highly effective at targeting all the little muscles in your feet, which happen to be the hardest to work out. They are also a first line of defense in regards to maintaining balance and preventing injury. Start by sitting up straight in a chair and extend one leg out straight in front of you. Wrap an exercise band around the ball of your foot so it covers the toes and hold it firmly. Point your toes forward and press the ball of your foot into the band, all while maintaining and holding it steadily flexed for five seconds. Return to the original resting position and continue for a total of 15 repetitions, do this 2x/day.
2. Ankle Circles – Just as feet get ignored, so do ankles. However, having strong and flexible ankles is key to avoiding further back and joint pain because weak ankles tend to tighten up and that leads to increased stress elsewhere on our bodies. For this exercise simply lay on your back and bring one leg up over your head. Circle the ankle around clockwise for a count of 10, then switch directions and rotate counterclockwise for another 10. Switch legs and repeat, aim to do these 3x/day.
3. Toe Presses – Do these to help get the blood flowing and warm up the muscles in your feet before the real action begins. Start in a standing position and bend slightly at the knees. Flex your toes and use them to dig into and grip the floor. Hold for four seconds then release. Do 10 repetitions, 3x/day.
4. Toe Walking – This is an excellent way to build muscle in toes, the balls of your feet, and ankles. The name implies it all, simply stand up on the tips of your toes and walk for at least 20 seconds. Come down off your tiptoes and rest for a solid 10 seconds or so, then repeat, doing 6 repetitions total, 2x/day.