There are 33 joints in the human foot. And thanks to sh*tty shoes, artificial surfaces and other side affects of modern life those joints don’t always move properly. Stiff joints can lead to fascial and muscular issues in the foot and up the leg. Plantar fasciitis, shin splints, weak arches, poor ankle flexion as well as knee, hip and back pain are no fun. Over the years I’ve tried dozens of mobility and strengthening drills for the foot taught to me by some of the best physical therapists, chiropractors and trainers in the country. These six, which take about three minutes, done consistently (daily) have helped me and dozens of my clients improve performance, reduce pain and prevent injury.
Roll your feet: Get a lacrosse ball, golf ball, mobility ball or water bottle and roll the bottoms of your feet for ~1m each.
Ankle flexion: Gently flex and extend your ankle joint by pressing your knee forward and back keeping your foot/heel flat on the floor. Start with 10-20 reps on each foot.
Toe flexion: Similar to #2 gently flex and extend your toes. Start with 10-20 reps on each foot.
Retinaculum stretch: Gently stretch the connective tissue and muscles on the tops of your feet and lower legs by angling your foot on the floor and providing gentle pressure. Start with 30s-1m on each foot.
Arch raises: to strengthen your foot muscles try to raise/flex your aches for 3s and then relax. Start with 10-20 reps on each foot.
Foot fists: to further strengthen your feet make tight “foot fists”. Start with 10-20 reps on each foot.
If these drills cause pain, stop immediately. Intensity is ok, pain is no bueno. As always, be gentle and consult your doctor or medical professional if something doesn’t feel right. Here’s a list of professionals I trust.