Healthy Feet: You Have Two Arches on Each Foot.
Do You Have Tired or Sore Feet?
One arch, the one most people refer to, is the longitudinal arch. This arch runs from the heel to the front of the foot where the toes begin. This is the arch that most refer to when they say, “You have fallen arches.” Generally, when there’s a problem with fallen longitudinal arches, it’s necessary to use some sort of support or orthodic in the shoe for better support.
The other is the transverse arch. It runs from the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe, to the outside of the foot at the base of little toe. If this arch begins to “drop” you can experience many problems. Problems and symptoms connected with a fallen transverse arch include, hammer toes, instability in the ankles, corns and calluses on the bottom of the foot, pain in the foot and ankle. One may also find they will compensate for the pain in the foot and/or ankle and walk differently. Many people shuffle or waddle when they walk because of a fallen transverse arch. Overweight contributes to the problem. Age and years of overweight exacerbate the condition. A transverse arch problem can often be diagnosed simply by watching how a person stands, walks and reacts to quick movements. Back, neck, hip and knee pain, headaches, muscle fatigue and aching joints can all be caused by fallen, or dropped, transverse arch. Unlike the longitudinal arch problem, a transverse arch responds well to simple exercises.
The exercises require only minimal equipment, a few marbles, a golf ball and a hand towel, and a few minutes two or three times a day.
We’ll start with the hand towel, since most people have easy access to one. Lay the towel flat on the floor and place your foot on top of the towel. Next, pull the towel under your foot with the toes. Use your hand to feel which muscles are the ones doing the pulling. You should be using the muscles in the foot and not the calf. If there is fatigue in the calf muscles, you’re using the wrong muscle group. In order to strengthen and reposition the arch, you need to isolate the muscles in the foot from those in the calf. Concentrate on relaxing the calf muscles and begin again. With a little practice, you’ll be able to gather the towel completely under the foot with only minimal use of the calf muscles.
Once you’ve seen progress with that exercise, find a golf ball, it doesn’t matter the condition. Place the ball on the floor and cup the ball in front of the ball of the foot where the toes attach. Begin to place pressure on the golf ball, and roll it from side to side. This is most easily done by pivoting on the heel. Do not allow the golf ball to go under the longitudinal arch area. Gradually increasing pressure on the ball will break up old adhesions, strengthen the transverse arch muscles and straighten the toes. If the ball keeps going off the side of the foot, place it in an old Mason jar ring.
The next exercise requires a handful of marbles. Place the marbles on the floor and pick them up one at a time using the toes. Don’t use the same toe every time, try to pick them up with different toes, concentrating on your weakest toe. When the marble is off the floor, rotate your foot from side to side and up and down as far as possible. Rotate your foot as high as it will go, and drop the marble. Use the entire toe, not just the distal end, to pick up the marble. With some practice, you’ll find you’ve gained greater flexibility and strength in your feet, calves and ankles and you’ll experience less pain when walking or standing. Balance and stability depend on the big toe. Strengthen the toes and you’ll have better balance.
Another exercise that can strengthen the feet and ankle is rolling the foot around on the toes and ball of the foot. Stand with the feet shoulder width or less apart and shift the weight to one foot. Bring the un-weighted foot up onto the toes and roll the foot around on the toes and then down onto the ball of the foot and back up on the toes. Do that for ten repetitions and then reverse the direction. Switch the weight onto the foot that was exercised, and continue the process on the other foot.
Tags: Feet , Corns , Flat Feet , Fallen Arches , Sore Feet , Foot
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