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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
The Amazing Benefits of Rolling Out Your Feet
Foot exercisesThe Amazing Benefits of Rolling Out Your FeetRolling out your feet is considered a safe, cost-effective, and conservative method to manage pain that develops on the underside of your feet. Pain and discomfort can set in when the muscles and fascia, making up the sole or plantar side of your foot, become irritated or inflamed from overuse. Let's consider the benefits of foot rolling in more detail as well as investigate an effective technique to employ. 8 Benefits of Foot Rolling 1. Relieves Foot Pain Rolling out the fascia and tissues comprising the underside of your feet is beneficial for reducing tension, preventing calcium crystal formation, and alleviating inflamed muscles within the sole of the foot. Regular foot rolling is particularly beneficial if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, because it effectively manages the inflammation and pain associated with this condition.  2. Improves Foot Mobility Tension in your intrinsic foot muscles may be contributing to your feet functioning ineffectively. Your feet may feel discomfort or sensitive, because the nerve structures in the muscles are compressed and are becoming irritated. Rolling out your foot will give the neural structures in the foot space to move freely, without becoming aggravated. This will improve the overall function of the foot, playing a crucial role in injury prevention. 3. Prevents Injury It's important for your foot muscles to function effectively to prevent injury to the foot itself, the ankle, and the rest of your legs while partaking in sporting activities. Additionally, problems you have experienced with your lower back could be alleviated with the restoration of normal biomechanics, starting in the feet. 4. Improves Circulation It's helpful to apply pressure to the sole of your foot, because it improves circulation in the feet by moving blood out of the feet and back into the circulatory system. This has also been shown to improve tissue healing.  5. Improves Balance By rolling out your feet and thereby restoring normal function in the muscles and structures, your balance will improve and further reduce your risk of developing injuries in the future.  6. Reduces Stress Using a ball to roll out your feet is an effective way to reduce tension rising from pressure points in the feet. You can target these trigger points with a massage ball in an effort to alleviate tension and stress.  7. Improves Overall Function The improved mobility in your feet will have a ripple effect on the rest of the body, allowing for more efficient movement from the lower leg complex. It will take the strain off other areas of the legs that are currently working harder during physical activities such as walking or running activities.  8. Improves Sleep If you're experiencing increased pain levels at night, it can cause poor sleep quality, especially after vigorous sporting activities. Foot rolling focused on targeting pressure points on a daily basis will improve your pain levels at night, allowing you to get a restful night's sleep. How to Roll Your Feet Out With a Ball Acquire a ball, particularly a tennis ball for plantar fasciitis exercises, to carry out the technique. A frozen water bottle can also be used. You can start in a sitting position, placing the ball under the mid-foot area.Apply gentle and controlled pressure to the underside of the foot using the ball. Gently apply a force downwards onto the ball, avoiding high levels of pain or a sharp stabbing sensation of pain. You can start with downward pressure in a localized spot, targeting the trigger point areas of the foot for maximum relief. Repeat 6 times and relax. The amount of repetitions isn’t fixed and the technique can be adjusted to your personal preferences. You can then progress to making longitudinal and circular motions with the ball. This will target the fascia on the underside of the foot. You can repeat this 8-10 times along the entire foot. Be sure to target the heel area and the muscles of the forefoot for maximal relief. Repeat on both feet.  Conclusion Many people have found great benefit from rolling out their feet on a regular basis, from athletes to people who have developed foot pain from everyday use. You can find the same relief from your symptoms through regular rolling. You can also combine this with other techniques to rebuild the arches in your feet and fix overpronated feet and overpronated ankles.
Best Exercises to Improve and Treat Your Hammer Toe
Foot exercisesBest Exercises to Improve and Treat Your Hammer ToeA hammertoe is a condition of the foot characterized by a deformation of the middle joint of the toe. The middle joint bends abnormally, flexing or bending downwards so that the toe now looks like a hammer. While hammertoe is most common in the second, third, and fourth toes; it can also occur in the pinky toes. Hammertoe results from an imbalance of muscles, ligaments, and tendons acting around the middle joint of the toe. The common causes include wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes with poor arch support and limited toe room; foot type and structure like with flat feet and abnormally high arches; long toes, genetics, trauma or injury to the foot or toe; a weak calf muscle; a strain caused by a bunion; certain diseases that affect the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments e.g. arthritis, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders, and strokes. How You Can Straighten Your Hammer Toes at Home Hammertoes when they occur can affect your walking. However, they can be straightened. Often, a combination of conservative treatments is enough to correct the deformity and prevent it from progressing. It is possible to straighten hammertoes at home and relieve symptoms of pain, impaired joint mobility, and discomfort by: Use good and well-fitted shoes.Using custom orthotics for added support, comfort, and to prevent worsening of the deformity.Cortisone injections, if prescribed in certain chronic cases by your general practitioner.Anti-inflammatory medicines prescribed by your GP.Mallet toe splints and pads if prescribed by your healthcare practitioner.Exercise (stretching and strengthening). » Need some extra bunion help at home? Purchase a pair of high-quality custom orthotics. How Exercises Can Straighten Hammer Toes Exercises can also help straighten hammertoes. An exercise program that comprises strengthening and stretching programs for the lower leg, foot, ankle, and toes can relieve foot pain and prevent the progression of the deformity. Additionally, regular exercise of the foot maintains its flexibility, promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and restores balance in the foot. All these will result in a straighter toe. Toe Stretch Exercises for Hammer Toes It is essential to consult your physical therapist for the treatment of hammertoes. Their prescribed foot exercises for hammertoes will help stretch the tight muscles, strengthen the weak muscles, and improve joint mobility and ligament stability. Certain exercises which can be done to relieve and correct hammertoe are as follows: Towel Toe Curls This exercise might help straighten out your hammertoe by working your extensor muscles. Place a towel on the floor.In a sitting position, place your feet flat on the floor.Curl your toes and try to scrunch up the towel.Complete 10 repetitions.Extending your toes to push the scrunched towel forward.Complete 10 repetitions. The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 3 sets per day, about 5 times per week. Toe Stretching With Fingers Sit on the edge of your bed.Place the affected leg on the opposite knee in a figure-4 position.Bend the toes towards you.Hold for 30-40 seconds.Bend the toes away from you.Hold for 30-40 seconds. The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 3-5 sets, 3 times per day, 7 times per week. Toe Stretching With Towel This is a variation on the above-listed technique and uses a towel instead of your hands. Sit straight on the bed with your knees straight.Place a towel around the first half of your feet (ball of the feet), covering the toes.Pull the towel towards you.Hold the stretch for 20-30 secs before relaxing. You should feel the stretch in your toes and calf muscles. Perform 3-5 repetitions, 3 times per day, 7 times per week. Spikey Ball Release and Rolls This exercise helps in releasing the tension of the tight muscles and limited mobility of the joint. It is like a self-massage therapy technique for hammertoe relief. Sit in a position that allows you to comfortably reach your foot while it is flat on the floor.With a spikey foam or plastic ball, push down on the front portion of your feet and toes.Twist the ball clockwise and anticlockwise for 5-10 minutes.Do the same thing on the sole of your feet under the toes. Repeat 2 times a day, especially before bed when your feet are likely to be the most fatigued. Ankle Toe Pump Exercise Sit straight on the bed with both legs together and knees straight.With your heel touching the bed, pull your toes up to a point toward you (dorsiflexion).Hold for a few seconds.Point your toes down (dorsiflexion) and away from you.Hold for a few seconds.Repeat 10 times. The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 10 sets, 3 times per day, 7 times per week. Toe Lift This can be done on either one foot at a time or with both feet together. Sit with your feet flat out on the floor.Attempt to lift all your toes to the same height. Hold this position for up to 5 seconds.Lower your toes and repeat the process up to 10 times. » Missing the gym because of your bunions? Lessen the load with some custom orthotics for gym. Specific Exercises for Pinky Hammertoe The pinky may be the smallest of the toes but if affected, it can be devastating to the owner as it also affects other parts of the body. It is particularly common in people who wear tightly fitted shoes such that the pinky toe curls under the fourth toe. Pinky toe exercises to fix pinky hammertoe include the following; Walking barefoot on the beach Walking barefooted across the sand on the beach is magical. Likewise, it is a good exercise to strengthen your toes, feet, and calves. try to start with as little a time as possible and aim to scale from there. Pinky toe stretch Starting position: Sitting Sit with your feet flat on the floor.Lift your leg and place the ankle on the alternate die.Placing your fingers in between your toes and use your hand to stretch the toes apart for as long as possible. Otherwise, move your toe up, down, and to every side, holding each position for 5 seconds.Put your foot back on the floor.Repeat at least ten times. Standing Toe Stretch Starting position: Standing With your back against a wall, cross one leg over the other at the ankle.Point the toes of the affected foot, including the pinky toe, towards the floor.Push your toes and toenails against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax the toe.Repeat 10 times on the affected foot. How Long Does It Take To Correct Hammer Toes? Correcting hammertoes depends upon the stage it is in and whether the deformity is flexible (mobile) or fixed. Thus, the duration of its rehabilitation and recovery varies. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to months, according to different cases. If the hammertoe doesn't heal and the only option you have is surgery, then it may take about three to six weeks of healing time. Of all the hammertoes, pinky toe hammertoe heal the quickest. How Do You Keep Hammer Toes From Getting Worse? Following all the preventive and curative measures of holistic management conservatively with the consultation of a podiatrist and physiotherapist will save you from surgery and heal the hammertoe faster. Hammertoes have a risk of getting worse with age, making it even more important to abide by your health practitioner's recommendations and treatment plan. In addition, you can also perform the following exercises to prevent the future occurrence of hammertoes. These exercises include; Regular sand walking Do not hesitate to take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the sand at the slightest chance. This exercise helps to massage the feet, strengthen the toes, and provide general foot conditioning. Marble pick up Scatter about twenty marbles around your feet and then one after the other, try to pick the marbles using your feet alone.Standing toe stretch With your back against a wall, cross your left leg over the right leg at the ankle. Then, point the toes of your left foot and push them against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and relax your toes. You can then repeat 10 times on each foot. What Is the Best Cure for a Hammer Toe? A combination of conservative management by visiting your podiatrist or physical therapist and following their treatment plan of daily exercise and stretching is the best way to cure and prevent your hammertoe from progressing and worsening further with time and age.
Best Exercises for Collapsed Arches & Flat Feet according to Podiatrists
Foot exercisesBest Exercises for Collapsed Arches & Flat Feet according to PodiatristsFlat feet are a rather common foot condition in which the foot arch collapses either temporarily or permanently. It occurs when the middle part of your foot - between the heel and toes - doesn't get enough support. Flat feet can be either flexible or rigid. With flexible flat feet, the fallen arch is only noticeable on standing. However, with rigid flat feet, the fallen arch is noticeable in all positions. They can make your feet tired, painful, achy, or swollen and even impact your back and legs. Exercises for Flat feet and Collapsed Arches Flat feet must be managed properly or it can result in avoidable complications. Thankfully, there are different effective treatment options for flat feet. One of them is the use of exercises. Evidence shows that exercises are effective in preventing flat feet from worsening. Here are some that you can do to strengthen your muscles and help them resist collapse. 1. Foot twists You can perform both inner and outer foot twists. To perform outer foot twists, lie on your back. Bring your forefeet up and in (big toes towards each other). Bring your forefeet up and out (big toes away from each other). Return your feet to the middle. To perform inner foot twists, while sitting in a chair, move your foot towards the midline of the body. Then return to its position. You can perform three sets of 10 reps each daily. 2. Toe lifts Toe lifts aim to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the feet and improve foot stability and balance. You can start in either standing or sitting position. While sitting barefoot, Lift the big toe with one foot and push the other four toes into the ground. Push your big toe down and lift and splay the other four toes off the ground. Hold the position for five secondsRepeat on each side between six to eight times. While standing, Lift the inside of the foot off the ground. Lift the forefoot as high as you can while keeping your weight on your heel. Lower the foot and repeat between six and eight times also. Aim for three to five reps weekly. 3. Towel Scrunch The towel crunch is another crucial exercise for strengthening the arches. It begins in the seated position and requires you to have a towel. To perform the exercise; Seat on a chair with a towel laid at your feetWithin the minimal movement of your leg, use your toe muscles to grab at the towel until it is impossible to pull the towel under your foot anymore.Repeat with other foot.Aim to start with at least one set a day and continue to increase the number of sets as you become more comfortable with the exercise. 4. Toe Extension Toe extension exercise is a stretching exercise focusing on the foot muscles responsible for controlling the movement of your toes. To perform this exercise, Gently push down on the toe until the knuckles are noticeable. Hold position for up to twenty seconds for maximum stretchRepeat 3-4 times per set. 5. Arch Lift Arch lifts strengthen the muscles that help supinate and lift the arches. Follow these steps to perform the exercise; Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your toes in contact with the floor, roll your weight on the outer edge of the feet, lifting your arches as far as possible.Hold the position for up to five seconds before releasing the feet back down. Carry out 2–3 sets of 10–15 repetitions in a day. 6. Calf raise From a standing position, Lift your heels as high as possible. The end position should not be too uncomfortable. You may hold on to the wall or grab a chair for additional support.Hold the end position for about five seconds and lower the heel back to the floor. Complete 2–3 sets of 15–20 repetitions daily. 7. Short foot The short foot exercise aims to work the inner foot muscles which support the arch. To perform the exercise; Sit upright in a chair with the foot firmly on the floor and the toes pointing forward.Without lifting any part of the foot off the ground, slide the forefoot back along the floor toward the heel.Hold the short foot position for 5-10 seconds.Alternate between each foot, repeating exercise up to 10managedtimes on each foot. Just Exercise Flat feet can lead to debilitating consequences if not managaed early. Since many of these exercises can easily be performed without supervision, start as early as possible and stay consistent with the exercses for maximal results.
Should You Hold Your Body a Certain Way When You Run?
Foot exercisesShould You Hold Your Body a Certain Way When You Run?Running often means dealing with injuries, but what is it that actually causes these injuries? The truth is that there is no correlation between the position of your body while running and how likely you are to get injured. Read the full post to learn more! How Does Your Body Position Affect Your Running? The human body is a complex machine, and the way we move it affects how it operates. This is true for runners as well, and it's not surprising that runners deal with many injuries. After all, there's a lot of pressure placed on our bodies as we run. In fact, a variety of factors determine how a runner's body reacts to the movement and forces it endures. The mechanics involved in running include kinematics, kinetics, and biomaterials. All three of these affect running injuries: Kinetics are defined as "forces that act on a body or part of a body." As you run, forces push your joints, muscles, and bones in different directions. This could lead to inflammation or problems with your joints.Biomaterials are what your body uses for protection. They're the muscles, tissues, and other substances that make up a runner's body and shield it from injury. The quality of these biomaterials will determine how susceptible you are to damage or inflammation when running.Kinematics refers to how your body moves while running. When you run, your foot lands on the ground and then pushes off to propel you forward again. This can happen in various ways - heel-toe striking, mid-foot striking, or forefoot striking, for example. Up until recently, it was common to assume these also impacted your chances of getting hurt while running. This assumption was tested in a recent study, and the results were surprising: It seems there's no real correlation between biomechanics and injury rates. In fact, it doesn't look like the way you're running (or how you hold your body as you do) is related to your chances of injury at all. This is a really interesting issue because it demonstrates how human bodies don't always react the same when we do the same thing. What Factors Can Lead To Injuries From Running? When it comes to running, other factors have a much more significant impact on injury rates. For example, the runner's age and weight may have a significant impact - especially as our biomaterial protection does deteriorate for many older or heavier people. Other possible factors could be: Your nutrition.The amount of support you have.Your level of experience.Surface conditions or terrain.How gradually you're building up speed and distance. Conclusion So, should you hold your body in any particular position while running? The answer is: not really. What may help reduce your chance of injury is training gradually, eating well, making sure you get good support, and running on even terrain to minimize risk. Good luck!
 Super Shoes: What Are They and How Do They Work?
Foot exercises Super Shoes: What Are They and How Do They Work?We've got an interesting one for you! This article will discuss the question of whether "super shoes," the hi-tech running shoes, can actually help you break speed records and stay healthier as you run. What Purpose Do Running Shoes Really Serve? Running is hard on your feet, and ill-fitted support can do even more harm. Just think of how much stress your feet go through when you run. Every time you cut corners or take longer strides with too much force, all that impact is transferred through the soles of your feet. A lot of people use running shoes to absorb shock and prevent damage. And it's true - running shoes have come a long way from their initial design. The first running shoes were made of rubber and leather and were created to protect the feet as you run. Fast forward to today, and many different shoe companies claim their hi-tech kicks can make you faster and help you stay healthier as you run. But, is this really true for everyone? Can Super Shoes Really Make You Run Faster? These unique shoes - often called "super shoes" - have a unique structure meant to help your feet perform better. A carbon fiber plate makes the middle part of the foot stiffer, thus helping people run better. A recent study found that 87% of participants performed better with a sturdy plate like that in their shoes! But, that's not all. The unique structure and stiffness levels in "super shoes" minimize your energy loss as you run, which means you're using that feedback from the ground to propel you forward. You're using less energy with each step, and your feet will push off better than ever before. For example, a study done by researchers Nigg & Stefanyshyn took a deeper look into this question. They gave 17 different runners shoes in varying degrees of stiffness. They found that the more stiff the shoe was, the faster the runners were! While that does sound like a great solution, it's hard to count on a shoe to give you that specific support you need. That's because each person has a different foot structure and running pattern. What works for one person might not work as well for another. There's actually no way to know for certain what type of support you need without the right equipment and professional knowledge. Effectiveness of Custom Orthotics for Runners Runners can't afford to ignore their foot health. That means looking for suitable materials and support to prevent injuries, speed up recovery time, and make you run faster. A great way to solve this is by using custom orthotics. They go into any shoe and give you the exact level of stiffness and energy return you need to break speed records without compromising your health. Plus, you'll be getting lots of added benefits, like moisture-wicking fabric and breathable EVA foam to keep your feet comfortable as you run. This combination of good shoes and custom orthotics is ideal for getting that edge you need and maximizing your performance when you train. And, the best part is that you can transfer custom orthotics like Upsteps between your athletic shoes to enjoy the various benefits of each without having to choose. Happy running!

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