You have probably heard the saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”
Anyone who has been sedentary for a while because of an injury or surgery, no matter the age, understands this more than ever.
Maintaining flexibility in our feet and ankles is just as important as other parts of our body, if not more.
Why is foot and ankle flexibility so important?
Our balance relies on maintaining a connection between our brain and all parts of our feet. Even a slight loss of balance increases the chances of a fall, which can become especially dangerous when getting older. Keeping your ankles flexible can work as a safeguard against injury and increase the accuracy of the overall movement of the entire body and goes a long way toward effortless mobility and minimizing the risk of falling as you get older.
In addition to protecting you against injury, improved balance can help you safely brave different surfaces with a secure step. When walking on uneven or steep ground, a strong ankle will be able to easily facilitate an adjustment of our balance which, in turn, supports the knees and helps reduce joint strain.
Here are 3 ways to make sure your feet stay flexible
Working on the flexibility of our feet and ankles is easy because it can be done sitting, reclining, or lying down - how nice is that?
Rotating your ankles clockwise and counterclockwise is the simplest form of flexibility work you can do. It’s such a simple thing that can be done while watching TV. Add to that turning your foot inward to see the sole and outward, where the sole is facing outward.
In order to maintain the flexibility of the forefoot where the foot and toes meet, as well as the toes joints themselves, bend your toes downward and upward.
Working on just the toe joints takes a little more focus. You may have to use your hands to individually bend the toe joints (we don’t consider this cheating 😉). The big toes have one joint, and the small toes have 2 joints each. We recommend working with each joint individually. If a joint doesn’t bend as well as you think it should, it could be a sign of arthritis. This happens to the big toe joint more than any of the others, where it connects to the foot.
So remember, the next time you’re sitting on the couch, give your feet and ankles some love. Your future self will thank you!