Top Exercise to Reduce Foot & Ankle Pain

Do you have pain throughout your foot or ankle?

Have you been told you have plantar fasciitis, shin splints, or a tendinopathy within your foot/ankle?

The muscles of the foot can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Extrinsic muscles are generally more involved in generating force in order to create movement, such as in walking/running. While the intrinsic muscles are important stabilizers of the arch of your foot, helping your foot in static positions like standing, as well as controlling the position of the foot in walking.

Just like any muscle it is important that we train the foot intrinsics (the arch of the foot) in order to provide the proper support for our feet in standing and walking. An exercise called the “foot push up”, is a great option for training these muscles in the foot.

The key to this exercise is to lift the arch of the foot away from the ground, while at the same time making sure your toes are not curling under. Or try to think of “shortening your foot”. Once you understand the feeling of the exercise try holding for 30’’ seconds. Begin in sitting, and progress to standing, and then standing on one foot. Practice this exercise everyday for about 2-3 weeks. This will increase the strength of these muscles and allow you to return to your day to day activities without pain.

Leah Weller, DPT