Foot Gymnastics: Exercises and Games for People with Flat Feet
Many people are afflicted with the problem of having flat feet. For most people, this isn’t a problem. Flat feet generally don’t cause any pain or serious difficult for the person who has them. However, some people do find that their flat feet are causing problems for them. They might be feeling pain in their feet or legs as a result of having severely flat feet. Alternatively, they may find that they can’t do some of the things that they want to do (such as certain types of yoga exercise) because their feet are too flat. In this case, those people may want to consider using exercise to reduce the flatness of the foot. The best type of exercise for someone who wants to fix flat feet is to do foot gymnastics.
Foot gymnastics refers to basically any kind of exercise designed to strengthen the muscles of the feet and legs. This exercise usually lengthens the muscles in the foot and can therefore reduce the problem of flat feet. It’s often recommended by doctors to children who have flat feet. Since it’s exercise designed with kids in mind, it’s exercise that is fun. Many of the tasks that you do when you’re doing foot gymnastics are actually just little games that you play with your feet.
For example, a lot of the popular games that people enjoy when doing foot gymnastics are related to picking items up with your toes. This is silly and fun so you forget that you’re doing exercise. Some of the variations on this game might include:
• Being timed to pick items up with your toes. You can play this with a group of people. Drop a bunch of small items on the ground. (Walnuts, small rocks and little balls of fabric are items that would all work.) Set a timer and everyone has to pick up as many items as they can with their toes. Whoever gets the most items will win. You can also play this game by yourself by seeing how many items you can get in a certain of time and then trying to beat that by repeating the exercise and trying to get more items this time in the same amount of time.
• Picking up items with your toes and then seeing how far you can throw them. This one is another one that you can either play with other people or you can play it by yourself. You pick up a specific item with your toes and then pull your foot back and launch the item. If you’re playing with a group, the person who throws the item furthest will win. If you’re playing alone then you try to throw the item further and further each time. Alternatively, you may try to see how many items you can pick up and throw at once.
• Stack items with your toes. You can also pick up items with your toes and then try to stack them. The highest stack wins. Plastic cups are a great item to play this game with. You could also do it with small fabric balls or even pieces of paper.
Those are all games that you can play with someone else or by yourself. You don’t actually have to do them as games. You could just do them as exercise. For example, you might make it an exercise to pick up an item with your toes and then throw it and to repeat this twenty times per repetition. However it’s a lot more fun when you play it as a game!
There are also some other foot gymnastics games that you can play but they require a partner. A couple of good two-person games to help you with your flat feet include:
• Grasp a stick with your toes and pass it back and forth with another person. You can do this until one person drops the stick and then the other person wins. Or you could put on music and when the music ends then the person holding the stick wins (like a variation on musical chairs). The latter method could be done with a group instead of just with one person.
• Have a tug of war with a towel and your toes. Sit facing your partner. Put a towel, a piece of fabric, a T-shirt or a rope in between the two of you. You each grasp one side with your toes. Then you play tug-of-war until someone wins.
There are some other exercises that you can do to improve flat feet which aren’t in game format. These are good as well and would include:
• Walking on tiptoes and then on heels. You simply walk in a straight line but you move your weight forward and backward between your toes and your heels in order to stimulate and strengthen your arches. This can be done in place to (rather than walking forward).
• Clench and release. You can do a series of exercises in which you clench the foot (like you’re trying to make a fist with the foot) and then release and then clench again. You can also add in a stretch of the foot so you would clench, release, stretch, release, clench.
• Stand on a book and do toe exercises. Place the book underneath your arches so that your toes are hanging off of the edge of the book. Then move your toes up and down to exercise them.
• Stand straight and lift your toes up. Stand as strong as you can with your back entirely straight. Then lift all of your toes up off of the ground so that you’re standing on your feet without putting weight on your toes. Release your toes to the ground repeat. This is often done in yoga.
• Use a balance beam. Walk along a balance beam back and forth. This is even better if you have access to a rounded balance beam.
Of course, all of these exercises are good for flat feet but you should always talk to a doctor (specifically a podiatrist) about the specific exercises that you should be doing for the condition that you have.
- Flat Feet - Pes Plano Valgus
Flat Feet (pes plano valgus) exercises.
- Foot gymnastics - Indopedia, the Indological knowledgebase
- foot gymnastics
Funny games as a means to improve the skills of the feet and to ensure a healthy development of body function