This group of ankle / feet exercises is good for those of you whose feet are stiffening up and causing problems walking.
The classic profile for this is a 70 year plus man (or woman) who says that their walking has got more leaden, more heavy through the feet, and that they are having to stoop and take shorter steps.
The feet provide a massive amount of sensory information (the sense of touch / pressure on the skin of the feet) and also joint movement information (we call this proprioception) to the brain. There are a LOT of joints in the feet.
So if your feet and ankles stiffen up, the amount of this second type of information to the brain (proprioception) drops dramatically.
I’ve written elsewhere why your low back failing to bend backwards properly can make you take shorter steps and walk a bit more stooped, but the following exercise set should help the feet part of this whole problem.
- Go onto tip-toe five times [tip - do both feet at same time, lean against wall]
- Stand on your heels and bring your feet up five times [tip - do both feet at same time, lean against wall]
- Lift up one foot off the floor and make the toes go around in a circle clockwise five times, then do anti-clockwise five times - then do the other foot [tip - just get the toes and mid foot to make a smooth circle: the toes will need to go down, up and to the sides to achieve this: don’t make too big a circle as all you will do is move the rest of the foot and ankle which will not achieve much!]
- Balance on one leg (use a wall or door lightly for support) for 30 seconds - then do the other leg [tip - don’t lean to much against the wall for balance - you need to challenge the ankle that you are standing on - ideally you would feel it wobbling gently]
This group of exercises done once a day will gradually make a significant difference to your spine, to your walking and to your general sense of balance.