17 Mon

Barefoot Running Part 2: Feet of steel

Barefoot running Part 2: Feet of steel

Written by:  Dr. Michelle Millner, PT, DPT

In my previous post, I talked about making sure you had good strength and mechanics before transitioning to barefoot running. Good strength and mechanics is important even if you are running in shoes. So how does one strengthen his/her feet?

Our feet have similar muscles as our hands, which means that theoretically we should be able to use our toes like fingers. Since we wear shoes all of the time, most humans have little control over the small muscles in the foot. Strong muscles help us absord shock and walk more efficiently, so it is worth taking time to strengthen those little guys. Here are 4 exercises designed to get those feet moving.

1. Marble/golf ball pick up: put some marbles/golf balls on the floor and pick them up with your toes. Repeat this for 1­4 minutes. marbles are easier than golf balls.

2. Tennis ball grab and open: widen your toes and try to grasp them around the tennis ball, release the ball by extending and widening your toes.

3. Balancing on one foot. Try to stand on one foot with your hips and shoulders level. start by balancing for a few seconds then work your way up to a minute

4. Balancing on an unsteady surface. The unsteady surface is going to make the little foot muscles work hard at keeping your balance. Start with a few seconds and then work your way up to 1­2 minutes. Keep your hips and shoulders level.

The above exercises will help wake up those tiny foot muscles and improve your foot strength with standing, walking and running. Next up: what is the core?

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of vorakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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