There are a lot of “bests” out there. Best movie. Best flavor of ice cream (chocolate peanut butter, of course). Best holiday. Although these titles will always and forever be subjective, I can think of one such exercise that I find to be “best” to get people started on improving the health of their feet. All it requires is a lacrosse ball and consistent effort.
There are a host of reasons why our feet don’t operate as well as they should. Wearing poor footwear, walking on man-made surfaces (concrete, asphalt) and not doing any exercises for our feet when we go to the gym. The rehab world has found one simple way to start the process of off-setting the damage we do to our feet: roll your foot out with a lacrosse ball. This works well for so many reasons:
Expense: Balls are $2, a reasonable price for most people.
Simplicity: The exercise is pretty simple. You press your foot down into the ball to the point where it is slightly uncomfortable. Roll the ball along the ball of your foot and across the arches.
Timing: Two minutes, twice a day for two weeks is a great dosage to get people started. You can even do this exercise brushing your teeth, watching the NBA playoffs or making dinner.
Effectiveness: Your feet are going to feel much better after doing this exercise consistently.
The ball mobilizes the fascia, muscles and other structures in your foot to help them feel better and function better. You will be more likely to go barefoot and be active with better feeling feet.
If you are having foot dysfunction, this is a great exercise to get you moving, get your foot joints (all 33 of them) working better and improving your quality of life. My brother challenged me this weekend to explain more in depth why going barefoot and doing barefoot exercises matters. I will focus on the WHY to my suggestions going forward and hope it becomes clear why barefoot is best. Get rolling on your lacrosse balls!