Support Your Feet to Improve Posture and Whole-Body Health
This blog about strong feet and body support was written by Katherine Eckelberry, executive assistant at Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy.
For many, walking takes up a great deal of time each day. Your feet and ankles get a lot of use and have to work extra hard to support your weight.
It’s important to take extra care of your feet. After all, they are the base of the body and make it possible to stand, exercise, and even walk the dog!
You won’t have to alter your entire routine to strengthen your feet and relieve pressure. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making small changes in your lifestyle.
Read on to find out more about the best ways to support your feet, improve posture and promote whole body health.
Ways to Support and Strengthen Your Feet
A good place to start is by increasing exercise levels.
Regularly exercising and stretching your feet and ankles helps ensure those muscles are providing the best support. Since they are used so often – and so thoroughly – you need to be sure that they won’t suffer from overuse injuries. Even though you cannot always prevent these from happening, gradually building up strength and endurance lessens the likelihood of suffering this type of setback.
The following exercises may also increase range of motion in the feet, keeping you active for longer.
When beginning new foot exercises, you might not know where to start. That’s perfectly normal, and sites like this one are available to help. Performing exercises correctly leads to fewer injuries – and faster progress!
- Toe raise, point, and curl
- Big toe stretch
- Toe splays and curls
- Marble pickup
- Sand walking
- Toe extension
- Golf ball roll
- Achilles stretch
Other tips include:
- Complete a thorough warmup routine before exercising. This differs depending on the type of exercise, but is important to overall success.
- Wear supportive footwear for day-to-day activities and sports. This is about more than wearing appropriate shoes. Choose brands and styles that offer additional support.
- Replace shoes when they are worn down. A shoe may be comfortable, but if it’s worn, has broken laces, or doesn’t provide adequate support, it won’t do any good.
- Build up strength and flexibility slowly, to condition feet and ankles. Progress takes time, and strengthening your feet won’t happen overnight.
- Avoid uneven surfaces, especially when running. Try not to run uphill too often. Being kind to your body promotes whole-body health, even if it seems counterproductive to go slow.
- Listen to your body and do not overdo activities. Overuse injuries happen when people ignore warning signs – don’t do this! Take adequate breaks, fuel your body properly, and don’t hesitate to seek out advice when you need it.
- Prevent any recurrence of injury by resting and receiving appropriate treatment. The sooner you treat injuries, the sooner you’ll be back on your way to supporting your feet and body.
Remember, you want to start small. Support your feet by making simple, day-to-day changes. If you’re unsure of the best options for your condition, don’t be afraid to reach out and get some advice.
From there, when and if these tips provide support and strength, you can decide what to do next. Whole-body health begins with understanding the function of each body part.
Stretch Your Feet to Increase Comfort
Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity routine. Having tight feet means having less flexibility and experiencing greater chance of injury.
One of the most common types of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched to ease the pain. Simple stretches provide relief from this and other types of foot injuries and discomfort.
Stretching Your Feet Improves Strength
As with any body part, stretching your feet provides many benefits.
From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give both of your feet a stretch from time to time. This is especially important for athletes or anyone performing aerobic exercises. However, anyone experiencing foot pain or who is on their feet constantly should also engage in this practice.
Great ways to stretch your feet:
- Cross one leg over the other. Carefully pull your toes back, raising them toward your knee. Do 10-20 repetitions. Repeat the process for each foot.
- Face a wall with your arms out. Place your hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot, but keep it flat on the floor. Move the other leg forward. Lean toward the wall until you feel a stretch in your lower legs. Hold for 30 seconds. Perform 10 repetitions for each foot.
While doing these exercises, be sure not to overextend or push your limbs too hard. If this happens, you may risk pulling or straining your muscle.
As you work to strengthen your feet, the goal is to avoid injuries, not cause one.
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries
Whether it’s injury or inflammation, there are a variety of issues that can lead to problems with the feet.
The two main types of conditions that affect foot and ankle are injuries to the structures and degeneration of the tissues.
Some injuries develop over time due to overuse. Others come more abruptly, like a sudden fracture. No matter the type of injury, you’ll want to do whatever you can to heal quickly – and safely. Whole body health depends on working from the ground up, so keep your feet healthy!
Common foot conditions that require treatment include:
Achilles tendon injuries
The Achilles tendon is the tendon that runs down the back of your heel. When you’re not careful, this can become overstretched and tear. This injury causes pain near the heel and makes it difficult to bend your foot forward.
This is where the bursae (fluid filled cushions that protect the joints) become irritated and inflamed. This decreases your foot’s ability to absorb shock. Many runners experience this type of injury.
This is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia becomes inflamed. This is the ligament responsible for supporting the foot’s arch. Have you ever heard the term “flat feet”? If so, you may be familiar with this type of foot injury.
Other medical conditions such as diabetes can also affect the feet. To support your feet, be sure to listen to medical advice from doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals like physical therapists.
Physical Therapy Can Benefit Foot and Ankle Function
Physical therapy can be useful to relieve pain and improve function if you are suffering from a foot condition.
When you see a physical therapist, the goal isn’t only to treat pain and promote injury healing, though. These professionals also focus on overall health.
Some treatments that physical therapists use to treat foot pain are as follows.
- Manual therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Laser therapy
- Heat and cold treatment
These treatments are designed to reduce inflammation and pain in the feet, as well as in other parts of the body. As discussed above, exercises and stretches are two other important components of therapy. Both help you regain function and mobility over time.
These exercises and methods will support your feet, but they also help other areas of the body, too, like your knees and hips.
The Way You Walk Impacts Foot Health
Another way to promote whole-body health is to allow a physical therapist to work with you on your gait to correct any issues with the way you walk. These issues may contribute to your foot pain and general discomfort. To strengthen your feet, it’s necessary to take care of the rest of your body, too. Adjusting the way you walk or the way you stand makes a huge difference.
There are many ways a therapist can help you reduce your foot and ankle pain and improve your overall health.
Find A Physical Therapist to Help Support Your Feet Today!
If you are looking to start therapy for foot and ankle pain, teams like the one at Reddy Care can help. Or, for different physical therapy options, use the BetterPT clinic location tool or mobile app. Accessing these puts you into contact with capable and qualified physical therapists today.
The sooner you find a practice and a team, the sooner you can support your feet, support your health and gain strength and mobility.
If you’re looking to seek treatment without leaving your home, consider using telehealth services for virtual appointments on a platform like BetterTelehealth. No matter what you choose, as long as you’re working with a physical therapy team, you’re on your way.
Why wait? Your legs and feet are under a lot of stress.
Reach out and make a change. Start to support your feet today.
Katherine Eckelberry is the executive assistant for Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy. She has worked in healthcare management for the last several years.
Currently, she works directly with the owner to facilitate patient care. In her role, she helps patients begin their physical therapy journey. Her position also entails liaising with other physicians and social workers to ensure patients are being taken care of and that care is well coordinated.
Additionally, she also educates doctors and patients on the benefits and importance of physical and occupational therapy. She remains dedicated to forwarding the Reddy Care ethos of quality care and a patient-centered culture.