Adjust the bones of your feet to get them back into optimal alignment. Our feet work as the body’s shock absorbers. They exemplify extraordinary engineering, able to absorb four or five times our body weight on every step. They can do this because they are composed of many small bones--26 in each foot! Foot misalignment is the source of many disorders: arch pain, bunions, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis. Adjusting your own feet can relieve all these conditions. Keep your feet healthy–or get them back to health–with this simple foot routine. Do it 5 minutes twice a day to get your feet back in shape, and then twice a week.
The Basic Routine
Stand with the rubber balls under the back edges of your heels; have your feet pointing straight forward. Hold on to a chair or wall for balance if needed. Count to 20. Breathe deeply. The first few times you do this, your feet may be tender–a sign they really need the exercise. If this exercise is uncomfortable, start with the alternate routine for foot pain.
Micro-move your weight back so the rubbber balls move forward to just the back of your arches; part of the ball is still touching the heel. Count to 20. Breathe deeply.
Micro-move back some more so the ball moves toward your toes, right through the center line of each foot. Pause and count to 20, breathing, for each movement forward.
Adjust your weight to bring your heels down to the floor when you have rolled forward enough. Bring down one heel at a time. Now the rubber ball is close to the ball of your foot.
Roll in micro-moves, pausing each time, until the ball reaches your toes and you can spread your toes out over it. Grip with your toes and count to 20.
Micro-move back one more time until the ball reaches the tips of the toes, which are stretched out over it. Stretch for a count of 20. Release the ball.
Alternate for Foot Pain Plus an Advanced Move
Perform the exercise sitting down if standing makes it painful. Sit in a stable chair, positioned as far forward on the seat as possible to send as much weight down into your feet as you can, and do steps 1 through 6. After a week or so, you will probably be ready to stand up for the routine. This is also a good way to start if you are having trouble with your balance.
Add an advanced move when you can perform steps 1 through 6 comfortably. Roll the ball to one side of your foot and hold for the count of 20, then roll to the other side and again hold for the count. Keep your ankles straight and level for these advanced moves. Work your leg muscles to hold them level. Return the ball to the center line and proceed, moving it forward as in Step 3. This advanced move really strengthens the arches.
Stand on your toes when you are finished with the ball; count to 20 to strengthen your feet and improve your balance.
Bend your knees slightly and consciously relax your weight down into the ball. Check your neck, shoulders and thighs to make sure you are not tightening to hold your weight upward. Move one foot back at a time to moderate the weight and help with balance.
Do not use golf balls or super balls for foot exercises. They are too hard and can cause injury. Do not use hollow balls like tennis balls; they will indent from the weight and not press evenly up on the feet. See a professional before getting started if you have foot injuries. Chiropractors can adjust the ankle bone if it has been wedged forward from an impact like a car accident. Some podiatrists still do manual manipulation of the feet. Massage therapists with a specialty in the foot can stretch the muscles and relieve many foot problems.