2 Simple Exercises to Keep Your Feet Healthy
According to Marcus Duda, MD, a Greensboro orthopedist and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff, proper foot care is important to your health.
“During the pandemic, people became less active as gyms closed and activities stopped,” says Dr. Duda, a foot and ankle surgeon who has patented a graduated compression sock. “I started seeing a lot more foot and ankle issues.”
Many patients complained of a stone bruise or burning pain on the bottom of the foot and ankle stiffness. Achilles contracture or tendon stiffness was the culprit.
“After prolonged sitting, the Achilles tendon tightens and puts more pressure on the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot,” shares Dr. Duda. “Stretching out this tendon takes pressure off and relieves the pain.”
Dr. Duda suggests simple exercises. While leaning against the kitchen counter with your hands, place one foot back with the heel flat on the floor and lean forward with knees straight. As you stretch the back of your calf, you should feel the stretch from your heel up through the back of the knee. Stretch for 60 seconds five times a day.
“As you age, connective tissue called fascia weakens,” he adds. “This can lead to pain and weakness in your joints and muscles along with balance problems.”
To build fascial strength, Dr. Duda recommends doing short 30-second exercises several times a day. Hold onto the counter, and face forward. With bare feet, raise up on your toes like you are trying to grab a marble while lifting your heels. Once you have enough strength, try hopping on the ball of your foot.
If your foot or ankle pain is severe or does not go away, consult with your doctor or orthopedist.
About the Expert
Marcus Duda, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro, NC.