18. Alphabet Ankles, Toe Taps, and ankle rolls
The stronger and more flexible your ankles, the higher your chances of avoiding injury whether it’s while exercising or doing daily activities such as running for a bus. Exercising your ankles for just a few minutes on a regular basis will keep strains and other ankle problems at bay. Stretching and rolling the ankles can significantly improve their strength and you can do these exercises easily at any time without any specialized equipment. You don’t realize how much you use your ankles until one of them is out of action.
Alphabet ankles: Use your ankle to âwrite’ the letters of the alphabet. Sit down and cross your right leg over your left leg with resting the middle of your right calf on your left thigh. Now use your big toe as a writing implement. Move your foot from the ankle to trace out the letters of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. Cross your legs over the other way and repeat.
Toe taps: Sit in a chair with a straight back. Keep your heels flat on the floor and tap your toes up and down. Tap the toes of the one foot up and down for about a minute and then move on to the other foot. Work at increasing the time and speed of the taps. The benefit of this simple exercise is that you can do it while you’re sitting at your computer.
Ankle rolls: This is another exercise you can quickly perform while sitting anywhere. You can also do it from a standing position. While sitting in a chair or standing, slowly roll your one ankle in big circles, rotating it clockwise. Switch to the other ankle and perform the same movement in a counterclockwise direction.
19. Toe and heel stretch, Achilles stretch and Toe Curls
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It’s the inflammation of the ligament that runs under the soles and connects the heel with the front of the foot. When the heel comes under repeated stress, it causes tears in the tissue and inflammation develops. High impact sports and even wearing high heels often can cause the inflammation. Standing or walking for too long can also cause it.
Toe and heel stretch: Sit cross-legged at the end of the bed. Place the affected foot over the knee of the other leg and grab the heel with one hand and the toes with the other. Pull up on the toes and the heel at the same time to stretch the fascia. You should feel the stretch along the bottom of your foot. Hold it for 10 seconds and massage the foot at the same time. Relax the foot and then repeat 20 times.
Achilles stretch: The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscle. Face a wall, raise your arms and place your palms flat against the wall. Place one foot back and keep the knee straight. Bend the other leg and keep both heels flat on the floor. Push your hips forward until you can feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
Toe curls: Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Now raise your heels and point your toes. Only the tips of the big and second toe should still be resting on the floor. Hold for five seconds before lowering. Now raise your heels and curl your toes inwards, holding this position for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
20. Short Foot, Toe Spreading, and Frozen Golf Ball Massage
Working on your feet and your toes can benefit your posture, stability, and toe alignment. It can increase the blood flow to the feet and strengthen the foot muscles and decrease the risk of injuries. Even walking on sand gives your feet a workout. Your muscles have to work to gain traction because it’s harder to walk on than a hard surface. Walking around in sand can lead to better foot positioning and balance.
Short foot: This exercise works the core muscles of your foot and strengthens your arch muscles if it is done correctly. To do this exercise, pull all the toes of one foot down and in without leaving the ground. Contract the arch muscles for 3 seconds and release. Repeat with the other foot. One of the main benefits of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere at any time, whether sitting at a desk or waiting for an elevator.
Toe Spreading: Do this exercise regularly, and you will be able to spread your toes as quickly as your fingers. Put your big toe on the ground, press it into the ground and rotate your heel inwards. Press your pinky toe down into the ground, and all your toes should be fanned out, leaving gaps between them. Now bring your heel back down. Repeat three times a day three times a week.
Frozen golf ball massage: Once you’ve completed some basic foot exercises, treat your hardworking feet to a massage. Pop a golf ball into the freezer for a few hours. Sit down and roll the icy ball under your feet. It will get to the tiny muscles of the feet and give you a deep massage.