Many people underestimate the importance of keeping their toes physically fit. Toes take a lot of abuse from the hours we spend on our feet each day. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends doing the following simple exercises to strengthen your toes and prevent foot discomfort.
- Toe raise, toe point, toe curl: Hold each position for five seconds and repeat 10 times. This especially recommended for people with hammertoes or toe cramps.
- Toe squeeze: Place cigarette filters or small corks between your toes and hold a squeeze for five seconds. Do this 10 times. Recommended for people with hammertoes and toe cramps.
- Big toe pulls: Place a thick rubber band around the big toes and pull them away from each other and toward the small toes. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times. Recommended for people with bunions or toe cramps.
- Toe pulls: Put a thick rubber band around all of your toes and spread them. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat 10 times. This is especially good for people with bunions, hammertoes or toe cramps.
- Golf ball roll: Roll a golf ball under the ball of your foot for two minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of the foot and is recommended for people with plantar fasciitis (heel pain), arch strain or foot cramps.
- Towel curls: Place a small towel on the floor and curl it toward you, using only your toes. You can increase the resistance by putting a weight on the end of the towel. Relax and repeat this exercise five times. Recommended for people with hammertoes, toe cramps and pain in the ball of the foot.
- Marble pick-up: Place 20 marbles on the floor. Pick up one marble at a time and put it in a small bowl. Do this exercise until you have picked up all 20 marbles. Recommended for people with pain in the ball of the foot, hammertoes and toe cramps.
- Sand walking: Take off your shoes and walk in the sand at the beach. This not only massages your feet, but also strengthens your toes and is good for general foot conditioning.