It’s summer! Time to put on your flip-flops, strappy sandals, and take barefoot walks in the sand and next to the pool. Your feet have been in regular shoes for months, so now’s the time to let those toes spread out! However, for many people this foot liberation can cause the foot to become more stressed by the unsupportive nature of barefoot walking or wearing flat, thin-soled footwear.
In the years of working on people with pain, I’ve also seen that after months of wearing summer shoes, your feet may have issues going back to the more secure shoes you are used to. You won’t feel it right away, but by September, many women come to me screaming about foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is a common fall issue caused by the summer months of foot freedom.
Here’s some simple things you can do to help keep your feet feeling great:
- The basic foot rub revamped: Place your fingers in between each toe and create small circular motions with your forefoot. Then squeeze your toes around your fingers to aid in better circulation to the forefoot.
- Foot elevation: At the end of the day, simply kick your legs up against a wall for 10 minutes to reduce swelling, pressure in your veins that causes spider and varicose veins, and back pain. Place a rolled-up towel under your low back and neck curves for added support.
- Monkey Foot Grabs: If you have a MELT Large Soft Treatment Ball, place it on the floor and try to grab it with your toes. Start at your big toe and second toe: Grab the ball, lift your leg, and hold it for 2-3 seconds. Then move the ball under your second and third toe and repeat the move. Try this all the way to your pinky toe and see if you can master lifting the ball from the floor!
- Heel to Toe Rocker: This basic move is an easy way to improve strength and reduce knee strain. Stand tall and keep your knees soft but straight. Gently rock your body weight and shift up into a relevé, so your heels come off the floor by a couple of inches. Pause in this position for a breath and then lower down and without locking out your knees, lift your toes off the floor and pause, standing mostly on your heels. Repeat this 20 times. Make sure to keep your knees soft but straight and keep your pelvis balanced over the center of your foot.
- The MELT Foot Treatment: The Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment is my secret weapon against foot pain. When you get good at it, it will only take you a few minutes and your feet will feel great.
Assess: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and close your eyes. Notice the way your feet rest on the floor and do a quick scan of your body.
Position point pressing: Place the Large Soft Ball under the center of your right foot. Shift your weight side to side to find a tolerable pressure. (Pain is always your sign to ease up!) Step backward with your left foot, compress the ball, and take a focused breath. Then place the ball just in front of your heel, compress, and take a focused breath.
Glide: Gently move the ball left and right under your foot. Keep your toes on the floor. It’s like doing the dance move The Twist. Slowly move the ball left to right until you get the ball to the back of your heel. Work your way back to just in front of your heel.
Shear: Keep the ball in front of your heel and create a small wiggle of your foot left and right. It’s like scratching an itch in your foot. Pause for a couple of breaths while you keep pressure on the ball.
Rinse: Place the ball under your big toe joint. Press with tolerable pressure from your toe to your heel. Lift your foot up and place the ball under your second toe. With the same pressure, press the ball down to your heel. Repeat this under each toe.
Friction: Create a two-directional, scribbly motion on the bottom of your foot for about 5 seconds.
Reassess: Again, stand with your feet hip-width apart and close your eyes. Notice your feet on the floor and do a quick scan of your body.
Repeat each move on your other foot. When you’re done, do a final reassessment-your feet will probably feel really good!
I hope these simple self-treatment techniques help your feet get ready for summer and feel great all season long. Drink a little water before and after any of these techniques to gain benefits and lasting results!
Originally posted June 24, 2013