T
he combination of often wearing tight (may be high heel) shoes and mostly walking on flat surfaces deprives the postural foot muscles from getting the workout they need. We can compensate for this in two ways:

 

  • Walking barefoot as often as possible: at the park, at the beach and in the house.
  • Doing specific exercises that will help strengthen the short flexors of the feet. These are the muscles that atrophy because they get little activity while you’re wearing shoes, and are also the muscles that support the arches of the feet! Executing these exercises regularly will prevent the development of flat feet and over-pronated feet.

 

We’ve already seen some of these exercises in past blogs like the Short Foot and the Beach Workout, but one exercise that will be very beneficial for the foot core is the Towel Exercise.

 

 

PURPOSE:

Articulation of the foot joints and ankle joints, strengthening of the small intrinsic muscles of the foot, and improved circulation.

 

 

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DESCRIPTION:

  • Sit on a stool or a low chair and maintain a healthy posture as you execute the exercise. Your spine is long, your glutes are engaged, the shoulders are pulled down and away from the ears, and the top of the head is reaching up to the ceiling. Start with your hands at your
  • Smooth the towel and place one foot on top of it.
  • Make sure your heel is under your knee. Your knee and toes are pointing forward.
  • Keep your heel down, and lift your front foot and toes off the towel.
  • Your heel stays in place as your toes spread. Grab the towel and pull it towards the heel, curling the arch up.
  • Every time you repeat the action of lifting the toes, try to spread them out. It’s usually fairly difficult to do it at first, but great relief for the fascia at the bottom of the foot.
  • Evenly use both sides of your foot and try to shape a deep dome under the arch area.

 

 

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After you master this you can start challenging yourself by reversing the action. To extend the towel away, lift the toes and curl them under so that the toes touch the towel as close as possible to the heel. Now push the towel forward, away from your body. Repeat until the towel is fully extended.

 

 

PROGRESSIONS:

If you find that this basic exercise is too difficult, start with an easier version (#1) and then progress at your own speed until you can perform all four steps listed below.

 

  1. Motion with no towel.
  2. Towel one foot at a time.
  3. Towel both feet simultaneously.

 

 

REPS/TIME:

Minimum 30 seconds per side, 1 minute total.

 

 

BENEFITS:

  1. The goal of this exercise is to move the fascia of the foot and strengthen the small flexors muscles.
  2. As you lift the foot and spread the toes before you grasp the towel, the tibialis – the muscle in front of the shin – The reinforcement of this muscle is extremely important; it helps compensate for the position of the leg/ankle complex when in high heels, and improves your walk.

 

 

TIPS: 

  1. If you find that your hands start moving and mimicking the foot action, let them. In the beginning it may help your feet figure out this movement.
  2. If you work both feet simultaneously, watch how the towel moves. If, for example, it is pulled and released evenly, that indicates both feet have equal strength. But if one side has been pulled farther than the other, it may indicate weaknesses or deficiencies in one foot.
  3. If all your floors are carpeted, perform the exercises while sitting on the edge of your bathtub; the towel should move smoothly on the dry surface. Or lay the towel over the hard cover of a big coffee-table book (photography titles are usually large enough to stand on).

 

 

This is a regenerating exercise! Please send me pictures of you doing it and let me know how you feel during and after its execution!