Like the rest of your body, your feet need exercise to stay in great shape. Try these moves, from New York City podiatric surgeon Jacqueline Sutera, morning and night.
- Toe grip (to strengthen the foot muscles to improve balance): Drop a sock on the floor and use your toes to grip and lift it off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot.
- Toe extension (to strengthen and support the muscles, which in turn will protect the bones of the feet): Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.
- Calf raise (to strengthen the feet and the calves and improve balance): Stand near a counter or a doorway and hold on lightly for balance. Balance on one foot and rise up onto your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
- Calf stretch (to keep the Achilles tendons and the plantar fasciae from getting tight): Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.
Once you’ve finished these exercises, reward your hardworking feet with a frozen-golf-ball massage. “The icy, textured hard ball can get into the tiny muscles of the foot and give you a deep massage,” says Sutera. Simply pop a ball in the freezer for a few hours, then roll under each foot while sitting down.