Foot pain is such a universal problem. No matter if you are an incredibly active distance runner, or someone with a sedentary lifestyle who happens to have to wear high heeled shoes, or heavy boots for work, we are all effected by foot pain at some point in our lives.
One of the causes of foot pain is your walking gait. We are not typically aware of our own walking gait, but repeated pressure on certain areas of your feet caused by you how naturally walk can absolutely cause pain. That is why things like custom shoe insoles can be so expensive! Because they can correct your gait and provide relief.
Other common reasons are high arches, or flat feet. Or, being on your feet for long periods of time will cause your feet muscles to tighten up. Even your calf muscles and achilles will cause foot pain if they are tight.
Luckily, there are easy exercises that you can do with a simple tennis ball to provide some relief. The targeted pressure a tennis ball can provide on the bottom of your feet can help break up your plantar fascia. Fascia is the tissue that connects basically everything in our body together. Your plantar fascia is the flat band of tissues along the bottom of your feet that connects your heel to your toes! Using a tennis ball, we are going to try to "break up" or loosen that fascia and maybe also work out tight muscles to help relieve some foot pain.
Relieving foot pain with a tennis ball:
1. Create a mental triangle on the bottom of your foot: starting at your heel bone, up along the inside arch of your foot, across the ball of your foot, and back down the outside arch of your foot.
2. Place the tennis ball on the ground and set your foot on top of it, applying pressure. You may actually feel pain and that is a good thing as long as the pain isn't too severe. You're shooting for a pain level around a 7. Even if you feel this discomfort, you want to apply pressure so you can release that fascia.
3. Begin to roll the ball along the mental triangle that you made on the bottom of your foot. Roll slowly and if you find a spot of particular pain, or a noticeable knot, stop there, apply a little more pressure, and work on that spot for a few seconds before moving on.
4. Continue this for several minutes to break up and release that fascia tissue on the bottom of your foot and work out sore muscles. Then, repeat this process on your other foot.
If you do not have foot pain right now:
A simple exercise like this is a preventative measure as much as it is a way to relieve current foot pain. Try this at least 4 days a week to prevent pain that builds up.
Another preventative measure is your diet. Proper nutrients will also help: a diet that is high in things that cause inflammation will surely cause pain in your feet. Fish oil, vitamin B5, magnesium and other supplements can help with this. Please contact Kelly, our registered dietitian for specific advice on a diet that can relieve foot pain.
***Fun Side-Note: Before rolling the fascia of your feet next time, reach down and try to touch your toes. How far could you reach? Make a note of that, and then roll your feet for several minutes apiece. Now try to touch your toes again! You could reach much father than before couldn't you? Yet another benefit of working out that tight plantar fascia.