Q:

How can I perform balance exercises to relieve foot pain?

A:

Podiatrist and fitness instructor Dr. Emily Splichal suggests balancing exercises, such as standing on one leg, to help alleviate foot pain and maximize foot health. The single-leg balancing exercise involves simply standing barefoot on one foot while standing in place. She further explains that closing the eyes presents more of a challenge because it throws off the center of gravity.

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Splichal also suggests the short foot exercise, which involves standing barefoot and contracting the arch of the foot by driving the big toes into the ground. She recommends performing the short foot exercise a few times a day while doing another activity, such as brushing teeth, cooking dinner or waiting for the bus.

Splichal suggests that people recovering from foot injuries regularly stand on golf balls to break up lactic acid in the foot and help foot muscles relax and recover from stress. The American Podiatric Medical Association claims that standing on golf balls may help arch pain and foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

In addition to simple balance training, Splichal recommends strength training movements focusing on one leg at a time. Single-leg squats and single-leg deadlifts are functional exercises that help to build muscle and improve balance at the same time.

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