Experiencing pain in your feet and ankles can keep you from being active and doing the things you love. While foot and ankle problems are more common among older adults, they can affect you at any age.
In this article, we’ll walk through some exercises you can do at home to relieve pain and strengthen your feet and ankles. Including these moves in your daily routine can help you feel better and prevent future problems from forming.
What Causes Foot and Ankle Pain?
Several things can lead to foot and ankle pain for athletes and non-athletes alike. Some of the most common foot and ankle problems are:
- Plantar fasciitis: Pain in the heel that is particularly pronounced upon waking up or after long periods of rest.
- Morton’s neuroma: Pain in the ball of your foot.
- Achilles tendinitis: Pain in the back of the ankle or heel that gets worse with activity
- Ankle sprain: Pain and swelling in the ankle that doesn’t go away with rest.
We’ll offer some ideas for exercising your feet and ankles to get relief from any of these conditions. However, if your foot or ankle pain is significantly disrupting your daily activities or doesn’t get better with rest, consult with your healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have a more serious injury.
Try These 8 Exercises for Your Feet and Ankles
Doing some gentle stretches and exercises may help alleviate some of your pain. Focusing on your feet and ankles can also help you prevent future injuries.
Note: Stop doing these activities if you start to feel pain, and always follow your healthcare provider’s advice for treating any injuries to your feet and ankles.
- Standing calf stretch
Gently stretch your Achilles tendon to loosen it and relieve pain using an adjustable incline calf stretch board. Start with a minimal incline, then gradually increase it if you can do so without feeling new pain. This can help with pain from Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, or calf muscle strain.
- Heel raises
Sit straight in a chair with a back. Put your feet flat on the floor. (For added comfort, use a set of balancing pads). Raise your heels, keeping your toes on the floor. Stop before lifting the balls of your feet. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower. Repeat this stage 10 times, then repeat the process, raising your heels until only the tips of your toes touch the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, lower, then repeat.
- Toe curls
Place a towel on the floor or mat in front of your chair. Sit straight in your chair and use your toes to grasp it and pull it towards you. Do this five times on each foot.
- Toe lift
Remain in your chair. Start with one foot. Lift your big toe off the ground, keeping the remaining toes stationary. Hold for five seconds, lower, and repeat. Do this 10 times on each foot.
- Marble pick up
Place an empty bowl in front of one foot and a set of marbles in front of the other. Use the toes of one foot to pick up the marbles one by one and move them to the empty bowl. Then, use the toes of your other foot to move the marbles from the bowl back to the ground.
A balance board can strengthen your ankle muscles and help prevent future injuries. Simply stand in the center of the board and try to remain balanced for up to one minute at a time. Start slowly, and gradually increase the amount of time you stand.
- Foot massage
A gentle massage can increase blood flow to your feet, which can help relieve pain and tension. Use a balance pad with a hedgehog spike to slowly massage your feet as you work on your balance throughout the day.
- Ball roller
Place a tennis ball or golf ball on the ground in front of your chair. From a seated position, place one foot on top of the ball and slowly roll the ball back and forth from your toes to your heel. This can help stretch your foot and give it a little massage at the same time.
Get the Foot & Ankle Products You Need from StrongTek
You don’t need to live with chronic foot and ankle pain. Instead, use the above exercises to stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles.
Visit our library to learn more about how to use products from StrongTek to strengthen your entire body from head to toe.