Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

Foot and Ankle Exercises

Foot and ankle exercises help the foot and ankle to function well and reduces pain and stiffness. 

It is normal to feel some discomfort with exercising but the exercise should not be painful. If you have new pain or your current symptoms worsen stop doing the exercises.

  • Starting position with foot flat on floor. End position with arch raisedSit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground (knees and ankles at right angles).
  • Focus on one foot at a time, use the muscles in your arch to help draw your big toe toward your heel.
  • You should feel a tightening of the arch.
  • Hold for 5 secs and release.
  • Repeat 10 times alternating each foot, 3 times daily.
  • 4 little toes pressed down on the floorSit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground (knees and ankles at right angles).
  • Then press the 4 little toes against the ground.
  • Hold this for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10 times, 3 times daily.
  • man doing flatfoot correction gymnastic exercise grabbing towel at homeThis works best on a smooth floor.
  • Place a towel spread out on the floor in front of a chair.
  • Whilst seated place your feet flat on the towel (knees and ankles at right angles).
  • Curl your toes to gather up the towel as many times as possible. Repeat 5 times on each foot, 3 times daily.
  • foot step on massage ballWhilst seated, place a ball under the arch of the affected foot.
  • Roll forward and back repetitively for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times, 3 times daily.
  • Whilst seated extend both knees and cross legs, with unaffected leg on top the shin of the affected leg.
  • Loop the therapeutic elastic band around affected foot and then run it under the sole of the unaffected foot, maintaining tension in the band.
  • Slowly pull your feet apart from each other, hold for 3 seconds.
  • Slowly relax to start and repeat 10 repetitions, 3 times daily.
  • Foot facing forward, then rolled to either sideSit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground (knees and ankles at right angles).
  • Roll on to the outer border of your foot, hold for 3 seconds.
  • Return to relaxed position
  • Roll on to your arch side, hold 3 seconds.
  • Finally, return to relaxed position.
  • Repeat 10 times, 3 sessions daily.

If your problem does not improve as you would expect with the self-care exercises, after 6-12 weeks of following the advice, you should contact a healthcare professional for advice. 

This may be your GP, Pharmacist, NHS Podiatry Service or a Private Podiatrist. Please make sure your podiatrist is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and look out for the letters HCPC after their name. 

Please note good compliance with daily stretching may take up to 6 – 8 weeks before the benefits are felt.

Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

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