Warm weather is finally here! It is time to free our feet from the heavy shoes and boots that we needed all Winter and Spring. Flip flops will soon be taking over our daily footwear choices. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, sometimes problems can arise from suddenly switching to less supportive footwear. Your foot is very complex! It is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and 18 muscles! Some feet are more flexible than others which leads to a flatter looking foot with a low arch. All foot types can suffer the effects of improper footwear, but in flatter feet, more strain is placed through the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia along the bottom of your foot. The increase in strain can increase your susceptibility to discomfort in your arch, heel, or ankle or even up into the leg or back. Not to worry though, there are many exercises and stretches you can do to decrease your likelihood of getting injured this summer!
Different types of foot structure:
Here are some tips for prepping your feet for summer footwear:
1. Start strengthening the little muscles inside your feet that help hold up your arch. The following are 2 exercises that we work on a lot at Girl Fit to help with arch control:
Arch doming- think about pulling the ball of your foot back towards your heel as you try to lift up your arch without curling your toes under or rolling your foot out to the side. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Toe Yoga- while keeping the “dome” from the first exercise, try to lift up just your big toe. Then place your big toe down and try lift up your little toes without letting your arch collapse or rolling your foot inward. Repeat 20-30 times.
2.) Spend a few minutes a day providing self massage to your calves and arches.
Foam rolling calves- roll along each calf for 1 minute per side.
Lacrosse ball or tennis ball to arch- press your foot down into the ball and roll ball around your arch. The pressure should be firm but not painful. Roll for 1 minute per foot.
3.) Stretch your calves- make sure your toes are pointing forward and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds 2-3 times on each foot.
4.) Mix up your footwear. Try to find some summer shoes that have a little more arch support and some that have a strap behind the heel to change the demands on your foot. There are many different options out there, you can look into SuperFeet, FitFlops, Merrell, and Birkenstocks to name a few.
5.) Most importantly, if you start to notice foot pain that lingers longer than 2-3 days call us at Girl Fit Physical Therapy and one of our skilled physical therapists can help you get back on your feet!!