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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 2, 2007

Get off on right foot via exercise

By Janet Cromley
Los Angeles Times

Want to put your feet through a workout? The following exercises are relatively simple and can be done at home. They're only a few of the many exercises recommended by foot experts, however. To expand your repertoire and ensure you're doing the exercises properly, you may wish to attend a foot fitness class or consult with a foot specialist.

  • The towel curl. This is one of the safest exercises, says Seal Beach, Calif., podiatrist Dr. Douglas Richie. While sitting with feet flat on the floor, try to grip a small towel by curling the toes over the towel. Even if you are not able to actually grip the towel, the attempt is still good exercise. To exercise the individual toes, try this with marbles or tissues. This exercise strengthens toes and arches.

  • The calf raise. While standing, raise and lower the heels off the floor while rolling up on to the balls of the feet. Do this while bending the toes into the floor as if standing on tiptoe. A more ambitious variation of the drill is to do it one foot at a time. This exercise strengthens the arch, toes and Achilles tendon. Do not do this if you have a strained arch, as you could strain the arch further.

  • The tennis-ball roll. While seated or standing, roll the foot gently over a small ball, such as a tennis ball. This is good for maintaining the arch.

  • The toe massage. While sitting with one foot on the opposite knee, massage the ball of the foot, in between each metatarsal (bone). Repeat with the other foot.