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Prevention for Foot and Ankle Pain- Helpful Exercises to put into your Daily Routine

Stretching is key to foot & ankle pain prevention

Throughout our life most people will experience some type of foot or ankle pain.  We can, however, try to mitigate this through regular stretching and exercising of the foot and ankle.  This will help to improve overall health and flexibility by allowing one to stay active as long as possible. 

This article will go over some simple exercises for the foot and ankle.  The exercises can be done with little to no equipment at home or at the gym.

Toe point, raise and curl

-Sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.

-Keeping your toes on the floor, raise your heels until only the balls of the feet remain on the ground.

-Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower your heels.

-For the second stage, raise your heels and point your toes so that only the tips of the big and second toes are touching the floor.

-Hold for 5 seconds and lower your heels.

-For the third stage, raise your heels and curl your toes inward so that only the tips of your toes are touching the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.

-Build flexibility and mobility by repeating each stage 10 times.


Toe splay

- Sit in a chair, with your feet gently resting on the floor.

-Spread your toes apart as far as possible without straining. Hold this position for 5 seconds.

-Then squeeze your toes together for 5 seconds.

-Relax toes.

-Repeat this motion 5-10 times.


Towel curls

-Sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.

-Lay a small towel on the floor in front of your body.

-Place your toes of one foot on the towel. Try to grasp the towel between the toes and pull the towel toward yourself scrunching the towel.

-Repeat this exercise five times before switching to the other foot.


Marble pickup

-Sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.

-Place an empty bowl and a bowl of 20 marbles on the floor in front of your feet.

-Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty bowl.

-Repeat this exercise using the other foot.


Toe extension

-Sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.

-Place the left foot on the right thigh.

-Pull the toes up toward your ankle and hold for 10 seconds.

-Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.


Golf ball roll

-Sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.

-Place a golf ball — or another small, hard ball — on the floor next to your feet.

-Lay one foot on the ball and move it around, pressing down as hard as is comfortable. The ball should be massaging the bottom of the foot.

-Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat using the other foot.

-A frozen bottle of water can be used as an alternative.


Ankle ROM

-Sit down so that your feet do not touch the floor.

-Use your foot to write each letter of the alphabet or do circles in the air

-Keep the movements small, using just your foot and ankle.


Heel Raises

-Lift your heels as high as possible and hold for 3 seconds before dropping your heels back to the ground to rest for 5 seconds.

-Repeat 5 to 10 times.

-You can hold the back of a chair or wall for stability.


Achilles stretch

-Face a wall and raise the arms so that the palms of the hands are resting flat against the wall.

-Move one foot back, keeping the knee straight. Then, bend the knee of the opposite leg.

-Keep both of your heels flat on the floor.

-Push your hips forward until there is a stretching feeling in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles.

-Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat three times on each side.

-Repeat the above steps with the back knee bent.

Keeping your feet and ankles healthy is important.  Performing the above exercises can help strengthen and increase flexibility in the foot and ankle to reduce the risk of injury and ease pain that may already be present.  Seeking appropriate treatment with also help to make sure you can do the activities you enjoy. 

Dr. Ronnie Pollard In her professional life, Dr. Pollard is a Board Certified podiatric physician specializing in lower extremity diagnoses, treatment, and after care. Dr. Pollard completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Denver before attending Midwestern University where she graduated as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. After Midwestern, Dr. Pollard completed Denver's rigorous 3-year Highlands Podiatric Residency Program and has amassed thousands of hours of surgical and clinical treatment experience. Dr. Pollard takes a family focused approach to her practice making sure that her patients are comfortable, confident, and prepared for the treatment plan that she recommends and is sure to adjust strategies based on patient feedback as they heal.

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