Foot Therapy Ball Exercises
Strength Training For Your Feet
For a long time, the plantar fascia (aponeurosis) has been given a leading role as ‘the’ soft tissue for maintaining the foot’s profile in gait and for stiffening the foot during the stance phase through the windlass mechanism (1; 2). More recently researchers have taken a harder look a the plantar intrinsics to see how significant their role is in foot function (3). Our intent is this short article is to answer the question; ‘is intrinsic foot muscle strength important?’
Here at HealthyStep® we believe foot rehabilitation is an integral part of management plans of conditions such as Achilles Tendinopathy. The foot therapy ball, which is proven to assist in generating higher digital pressures in gait after only 6 weeks use (4), is one of several exercises that offer patients simple yet effective forms of rehabilitation.
How To Perform Therapy Ball Exercises
You should do these exercises barefoot where possible, but they can be effective in socks too.
- Position your foot so that your heel and the forefoot at the base of your toes are on the ground and your toes riding up on the ball. It isn’t important if you are unable to get your little toe on the ball.
- Carefully roll your foot forward, following the surface of the ball with your toes.
- You should end this movement with your toes pointing down to the floor and your heel raised up. In this position you may feel a stretch over the top of your foot. Hold this position for a second pulling your toes towards the ball.
- Try and grip the ball with your toes. Just keep repeating this actionfor a minute or so. Sometimes you can develop cramp in your foot trying to grip the ball. Should this happen rest for a minute and try again. A few days of these exercises tend to resolve the cramp.
- Get a good grip on the ball and try to pick the ball up. Don’t worry if this seems impossible to do, it is the trying to grip and pick up the ball that is important. In time most people find that they grip the ball much better and can start to pick it up. If you can pick the ball up easily please keep doing these exercises as extra foot strength is always a good thing.
- Repeat 5 times
Here is an instructional video to help you get the most from the exercises.