There are many types of daily foot exercise one can perform to strengthen foot muscles, thus protecting the bones and possibly decreasing and preventing pain. These exercises are typically done while barefoot and should be safe for those at any fitness level.
One type of foot exercise is stretching the feet, ankles, and calves. While sitting or standing, one can place the heel on the floor and flex the foot, pulling the tops of the toes back toward the ankle. A towel may be wrapped around the back of the foot for help. The toes can also be pointed in the opposite direction as the heel rises off the floor.
To stretch the muscles between the toes, one could separate each digit as far apart as possible. While standing, one may attempt to touch each individual toe one at a time on the floor while the rest of the toes are flexed upward. Each of these poses are generally held for about 10 seconds each, with a brief break between an average of three sets.
After stretching the feet, one can include common household objects to add resistance or a small amount of weight to this routine. A typical foot exercise is called a pick up. The move may be referred to specifically as a marble pick up, though any object one can grab with the toes may be used. In this move, one uses the toes to grasp and move small objects from one pile to another. If small, rounded items are not available, a towel or sock will suffice.
One can add resistance to any stretching foot exercise to help tone muscles in the feet. For instance, a thick rubber band can be placed across all five toes on the foot before one separates the toes, pulling them apart from one another. With a secure wall or piece of furniture nearby for stabilization, one can lift up onto the ball of the foot and slowly raise and lower the body. Supporting one’s own body weight without the restriction of shoes could work wonders for the feet.
An arch lift is a small movement that may be hardly visible, yet beneficial. With the ball of the foot and the heel placed flat on the ground and the toes pulled up, individuals can lift the arch with a slight pulling of the ball and the heel toward one another. If at any time during a foot exercise one gets a cramp, rolling the ball of the foot side to side on the ground should alleviate the problem.