Why is this important?
Many foot-related injuries can be prevented by strengthening the feet. Muscles found in the feet and lower legs are used more often than any other muscles in the body. A simple tennis ball can be used as an effective tool for strengthening and rehabilitating your feet along with increasing stamina and reducing tightness and pain.
Tennis ball exercises for feet provide an easy, inexpensive self-care tool for maintaining healthy feet and can be used whether one has an injury, high arches, flat feet, bunions or calluses.
What exercises should be performed?
Rolling the foot with a tennis ball is an exercise one can complete on their own as a way to massage and stretch the bottom of the foot and the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, it can cause heel pain. A tennis ball can help prevent this condition from occurring, along with helping to improve flexibility and range of motion of the ankle. This exercise is performed by sitting on a chair, placing a tennis ball under the arch of the foot, and slowly rolling the foot back and forth over the ball for 30 to 60 seconds in each of the tender spots. This exercise has been beneficial in preventing foot cramps and foot-related injuries when performed two to four days a week.
Standing massage exercises are more advanced than the rolling massage and should be progressed to once the rolling massage has been mastered. Standing allows for more pressure to be applied into the tennis ball, helping to release tension and pain. This exercise is performed by placing the tennis ball under the foot while in a standing position, frequently shifting body weight and the position of the ball.
Spot pressure exercises target any adhesions within the muscles of the bottoms of the foot. This exercise is performed by placing the tennis ball under the ball of the foot where pressure is applied directly into the ball to one specific spot of the foot for 10 seconds. Spot pressure can be applied to many different locations on the bottom of the foot and should start near the base of the toes and work towards the heel.
Toe Flexor Stretch
The toe flexor stretch helps to reduce foot pain and tightness that has been correlated with tendinitis. Flexibility throughout the muscles and tendons in the foot, ankle, and lower leg is important for maximum foot strength and function. This exercise is carried out by placing a tennis ball against a wall and then standing toward the wall and placing the heel of the foot on the floor and the bottoms of the toes against the tennis ball. The knee should be slightly bended while the body gradually leans towards the wall while the toes are pressed forcefully into the ball.