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5 tips for optimising foot function and health

1. Walking bare foot - Barefoot walking has been shown to help increase antioxidants, reduce inflammation and improve sleep. This happens by exposing us to the earth's negative ions when we connect with the earth.

Walking barefoot will improve the strength of your foot and ankle and increases foot to brain feedback. Overtime you can improve balance and lessen the chance of injury to knees, hips back. Reduce the likelihood of falls thanks to all of the above!

2. Balancing on one leg - This takes practice if you are not used to doing it. If you are not very good at it to begin with even just the practice will improve the connection between your foot and your brain, firing up and increasing connections in the parts of the brain that control strength and balance.

3. Squats with toes lifted - when you practice Squats, or getting in and out of a chair with your toes lifted, you will better distribute your weight in the heel of the foot using the balls of the feet for balance and control.

Having correct weight distribution through the foot as you move will help improve fallen arches, reduce pressure on bunions and release the plantar fascia. It will also improve mechanics through the leg and spine.

4. Drawing up arch of foot - helps especially if you are prone to "flat feet" but important for all of us to maintain correct alignment of the ankle hip and spine. Makes our movements more efficient and controlled reducing injury and improving strength.

It is difficult of you have never done it before and can take practice to learn the movement. As you draw the arch up and the ball of the big toe towards the heel be careful not to scrunch up your toes.

5. Circles and figure 8s - Especially helpful to rehabilitate the brain after an injury or period of immobility in the foot or ankle. After an ankle sprain or breaking a bone, the local tissues will heal. However, when a joint is immobilised the area of the brain dedicated to that body part can lose connections and shrink! Complex movements like the figure 8 (and all the other tips above) can help to restore the brains perception of that body part after injury.

Make the movements even more effective by closing your eyes and visualising the shapes that you are drawing. If you have mastered a big circle clockwise and anti clockwise do the same with a figure 8 then practice with letter shapes to keep the stimulation novel.

All of the above tips are helpful if you are recovering from a foot or ankle injury, would like to improve your balance or if you are keen to avoid injury and help your brain to body connection work in the best possible way.


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