Some people believe that well-manicured nails signify a well groomed person. I like to think that good-looking and healthy feet signify good grooming. Aside from the general cleanliness of making sure you wash and dry your feet daily, especially between the toes, here are some other top tips to achieving AWESOME FEET.
Exercise. Just as you might lift weights, speed cycle or crunch to exercise your various muscles, exercises for your feet help keep them healthy. It encourages circulation, strengthens the muscles in your feet and maintains flexibility. These are all a must if you want to maintain good health as you get older. A healthy body starts with healthy feet.
Fanning toes out, separating the big toe, rocking on your feet are all good examples of simple exercises. Some of the best exercises I have found for maintaining strength and flexibility are dance exercises. Search youtube videos for ‘foot /feet exercises’. You will find video instruction on how to stretch your toes, grip toes, point toes and many more.
Stretch. Although it is your ankles and calves that are doing the work, stretching helps prevent tight muscles in the soles, painful heels or plantar fasciitis. This is especially helpful if you wear high heels.
Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you and, holding a scarf around the balls of both feet, pull them towards you until you feel a stretch in your calves. A less uncomfortable way to do this is to stand on a step. Put one foot on the edge of the step and drop the heel downwards.
Prickly balls. You can do this lying down or sitting. I find you get greater intensity while standing – one ball on one foot at time, don’t try to do both feet simultaneously. With the ball on the floor, place the foot on it and roll the foot along and from side to side. If you feel a painful area, hold it there for several seconds until it feels less painful. You can repeat this same area a couple of times more if the area is still sensitive. If you have tight Achilles, then roll the ball towards the base of the foot. If you get blocked sinuses, go over the toe pads. Just roll your foot around. If you’re standing, hold onto something for balance.
Because prickly balls ‘melt’ into the foot, you can also them use gently on the top of the foot but go gently as the boney area could make this painful.
If you prefer a different sensation to the prickly ball, use a golf ball or similar. There are also trigger point therapy balls available in differing levels of hardness which are about the same size as a golf ball.
I prefer prickly balls to spiky rollers because they are easy to clean. Just chuck into hot soapy water and leave to dry. By all means, if you prefer a roller or foot log use that. Just make sure you can clean it easily as you don’t want to pick up a foot infection.
Acupressure slippers. I bought these Yantra slippers for a laugh one day because I was
curious, but they’re really good and quite energising. You walk around with some gentle protrusions digging into the sole of the foot and the heavier you are, the more intense it is. For a gentler effect, wear with socks. Otherwise wear with bare feet.
The idea is the protrusions stimulate the acupressure points on the feet. Therefore, if you have conditions that contra-indicate you having reflexology or foot massage (e.g. pregnancy, heart condition) you should avoid these.
Pebble mat. In some Far Eastern countries, you will find reflexology paths laid out in public places. They are intricately laid out with smooth large pebbles at the start, graduating to sharp spiky things that look designed for punishment rather than health. The pebble mat is your cut-down version of the pebble path. You can probably only get them on-line or from the Far East.