TIPS TO TRAIN FOOT MUSCLES
The foot is often ignored when it comes to developing strength, mobility, coordination, and so much more. Perhaps there is a lot of benefits for runners in doing exercises for the foot.
Implementing a foot strengthening program reduces the likelihood of falls in the elderly, increases the performance on jumping, and agility tests for athletes, and reduces the likelihood of running-related injuries.
Sometimes foot muscles even can cause changes in your trunk muscles and other important joints like the knee, hip, and spine.
Physiotherapy program for the foot muscles includes:
Feet tapping- for this you should be in sitting on the chair with your knees bent approximately 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. From here you are going to keep your heels on the ground, lift your toes and then tap them back on the ground. You are going to go up and down doing this for a total of 30 repetitions.
The second exercise is the forefoot ascend also known as calf raise and a heel raise. This is recommended to be done in standing. But you can do it in sitting if you aren’t strong enough for the standing yet. The prescription is to do it for one set of 30 repetitions.
The third exercise is an Invert-Evert asymmetric coordination exercise- you will set up sitting on the chair and then you are going to invert one foot while everting the other foot. You want to briefly hold each side for about one second and then go back and forth between sides. Start with one set of 10 repetitions. It can progress to a standing version.
Now exercise for the strengthening of the foot started with- forefoot abduction exercise. you will be sitting on the chair and then place a resistance band around your forefoot on one side, you can have your other foot act as an anchor to resist the motion, and then let your foot begin moving to the side. You are going to keep the heel down and focusing on rotating at the ankle and the shin. You should do 2 sets of 10 repetitions of each foot.
The next exercise is also in sitting position but for the dorsiflexor- you should have a band anchor out in front of you with the help of some weight or some stable objects and focusing on bringing your toes and foot up toward you as doing dorsiflexion.
The next exercise is for the muscle of the bottom of the foot that is ball squeeze drill- in sitting you have your heel on the ground and then a ball set up under your toes, then try to grab and hold the ball with your toes, raising it up off the floor and back down under control, while doing this you are going to keep your heel on the ground. Start with one set of 5 repetitions holding for 5 seconds. The progression of this exercise is with a smaller ball and excluding your big toe and do the same exercise with only your 4 toes.
The next exercise is for the deeper foot muscles with the help of a towel slide in between your toes. You are sitting on a chair and feet flat on the floor and towel in between your toes you are going to be focusing on squeezing your toes together for a second and then relax and repeat. Prescription is 10 repetitions of each foot.
Some of the control drills include- toe abduction and adduction exercises. Sitting on the chair you can keep your feet flat on the ground and then focus on trying to spread your toes for 2 seconds and then squeeze your toes together for 2 seconds. Start with 10 repetitions.
The next control drill is the short foot- in this, you are sitting on the chair and keeping your foot flat on the ground then try to slide the head of the first metatarsal toward your heel without flexing the toes, the forefoot and heel should not leave the ground. Try to do it with 5 seconds hold for 10 repetitions.
The last control drill exercise is plantar arch raise- in this exercise, you have to raise your longitudinal arch and hold for 5 seconds and repeats for 5 times.
Other exercises are like heel raises and it can be progressed with a single leg heel raise, and bend knee heel raise, etc.