After a long day on your feet, or a long walk, your feet may be a little cranky. Don’t let that discourage an active life or living your fullest. Learn how to give yourself a foot massage with a tennis or racquetball ball — and get back out there!
You can use a tennis ball, racquetball, or “handball” – you’ve already got one around the house anyway. Or your tennis club has those that are no longer fit for play but perfect for you. If things are more seriously you can fill small cups (the kind you swoosh with at the dentist) with water, freeze them and ice, ice, baby.
You will release tension (or inflammation with the ice) in the superficial muscles. The site of pain may come from deeper layers of muscle. Much of it is due to the fact you’ve got less fat in your feet now than you once did. So keep in mind more cushioning in your footwear is a good thing.
All those little nerves in the feet – thousands- love a little foot massage, and so do your brain and nervous system. You want to use pressure according to a 0-10 scale, with 10 as the highest, at about a 4 or 5. You’re trying to relax not cause more pain.
Start slowly with this routine, with just two to five minutes per foot in the morning, building up to 10 minutes. Do this barefoot. Remember to breath! If you find you’re holding your breath you’re either too sensitive (and may want to check with a physician or podiatrist if you haven’t) or putting too much pressure on.
Sit comfortably upright in a chair with a supportive back. To ensure good posture, do this by feel rather by looking down. We’ve all got more than enough “tech neck” posture going on.
Place the ball under the middle of your foot and slowly, gently, roll it toward the toes and back to the heel, from each toe, one at a time. Once you’ve rolled back and forth between the little toe and heel, you’ll move over about an inch and repeat for all those little piggies.
There are a lot of zones in the feet connected to the rest of your body. So while you may think of this as a soothing treat for your feet, you also may be improving circulation, liver function, or digestion as you roll with it, baby.
You have more than one arch. Who knew? Be gentle as you roll across this soft tissue. While you can put more pressure on the bony parts, ease up on soft tissue. In addition to rolling length-wise, roll cross-wise gently as well from the inside arch of your foot to your outside of your foot. (not pictured in the video)
You spend so much of your waking life in shoes, toes need a stretch (and strengthening), too! It’s a much-needed wake up call. No matter what else you do on your feet, your foundation has much to do with the comfort and alignment all the way up from your ankles to your knees and beyond.
Place the ball under the ball of your feet. “Hug” the ball and then splay the toes. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
You can do this standing up and apply greater pressure once you’re used to it. Support yourself with a wall or chair back, however. If you feel more comfortable seated, there’s no need to stand.