In light of National Wiggle Your Toes Day, I thought I would share some exercises to help get those toes wiggling and feet moving. Why is it important to wiggle your toes and move your feet? The majority of shoes are not designed to allow your feet to function to their full potential, which can impact how the rest of your body moves. High heels cause calf tightening, narrow toe boxes squish your poor toes together, and rigid soles restrict your foot’s motion. These are a few of the problems associated with the modern shoes we wear today. Hence, why we need to exercise our feet outside of our shoes!
Can you wiggle your toes? It can be surprisingly difficult because it is not something we do every day. And not to mention, the foot is pretty complex (there are an astonishing total of 28 bones and 33 joints in the foot!) Take 5 minutes per day to give your feet some TLC with the following exercises. Try these simple and effective exercises and you will be…. off on the right (and left) foot :).
1) Short foot: lift your medial arch (think of it like a suction cup) without curling your toes. By activating your medial arch, you will help strengthen some of the smaller muscles in your foot in order to better support the rest of your lower extremity.
2) Independent toe movements: try to lift your big toe without lifting your other 4 toes and vice-versa. For an added challenge, use the Nadora Total Body Band for resistance.
3) Bear crawls with big toe extension and adduction: loop band around knees and then loop it around either big toe, assume a high bear position and load the base of the big toe so your heels are elevated, exhale and push knees out against band to engage your glutes.
4) Toe Flexors Stretch: with heel down, spread and flatten toes against the wall and bend your knee towards the wall keeping it aligned with your 1st and 2nd toes, hold 30 seconds, repeat 2-4x.
Incorporating these exercises can help you move better from the ground up! Let me know what you think by commenting below. And of course, Happy National Wiggle Your Toes day!
Registered Physiotherapist and Kinesiologist