As a Physiotherapist I meet runners, triathletes and other athletes who frequently use their feet. Or, wait a minute, don’t we all use our feet? Every step we take, every day? People spend loads of time training their hips, knees, back, arms, shoulders etc. Dedicated feet targeted training do not feel as usual. Are YOU training your feet?

Most of us are born with healthy, strong and vibrant feet. But then something happens along the way…we can at some time lose optimal function. The foot might become more narrow in the front portion, where the healthy foot is at its widest, and often our shoes have elevated heels that lifts the heel bone and change the entire foot biomechanics and body balance. Problems can arise, not only in the feet.

A conventional and ordinary human foot contains 26 bones, 20 muscles, 33 joints and 106 ligaments and all of these tissues have to work together in order to maintain good function of the foot. Given that we load our feet several times our body weight on each foot strike when we run it is strange that specific training is not common. Why should we not be able to, and benefit from, exercising our feet? Well, we do!

Here are three very simple exercises to do, every day. They take less than 5 minutes of your time to do and work the basic muscles and movements:

Feet crunch
Sit with your feet in front of you, heel on the floor, and in the neutral position
Crunch the foot all you can, flex harder and harder until you reach your max and hold for 10 seconds
Repeat with the other foot and do 2-3 rounds each side

Spread your toes
Sit with your feet in front of you, the whole foot on the floor
Spread your toes out to the sides as much as you can
Keep tension 10 seconds
Repeat 2-3 rounds each side

Alphabet
Stand up, hold one of your feet in front of you
Write the alphabet in the air with your big toe
Use as little leg movement as possible
Repeat 2-3 rounds each side

Give your feet a treat and try this for a few weeks. I guarantee you will feel more in control of your feet!

Patrik Hedqvist

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