According to Dr. Noreen Oswell, chief of podiatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, foot-related injuries can be prevented by simply strengthening the feet. A common tennis ball can serve as a useful tool for strengthening and rehabilitating your feet. Whether you have an injury, high arches, flat feet, bunions or calluses, tennis ball exercises for feet provide an easy, inexpensive self-maintenance tool for healthy feet.
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Rolling the foot with a tennis ball provides a self-controlled massage and stretch for the bottom of the foot and plantar fascia. Start by sitting on a chair and placing the tennis ball under your foot. Gently apply as much pressure as you can tolerate to push the ball into the floor, rolling the ball back and forth from your toes to your heel. Roll the ball for 30 seconds and switch to the other foot. Perform the rolling massage tennis ball exercise two to four days per week to prevent foot-related injuries.
Maximizing the flexibility of the muscles and tendons within your foot, ankle and lower leg is essential for optimal foot strength and function. To improve your flexibility, perform a flexion stretch using the tennis ball placed against a wall. Start by placing the ball of one foot on top of the ball with your heel flat on the floor. Slowly lean your upper body into the wall to increase the stretch felt in the foot, ankle and lower leg. Hold the stretch for three slow breaths and switch feet.
Spot pressure exercises simply focus on any adhesions within the muscles of the bottom of the foot. Place the tennis ball under the ball of your foot and firmly press your foot into the ball for 10 seconds in different locations. Start by focusing on three spots near the base of your toes, gradually working the ball towards your heel.
The standing massage exercise is an advanced exercise derived from the rolling massage. You can apply more pressure to increase the intensity of the exercise by applying more bodyweight into the ball. Similar to the rolling massage, place the tennis ball under one foot while standing, steadying yourself against a wall. Apply as much pressure as you can tolerate. Roll the ball back and forth from your toes to heel for 30 seconds and switch feet.