Are you experiencing knee, foot, hip or back pain? The problem may be in your FEET! In this post I am going to show you how you can use a simple tennis ball to relieve tight, dehydrated connective tissue in your feet. This foot myofascial release exercise will help PREVENT and RELIEVE bunions, plantar fasciitis, weak arches, and even knee, hip and back pain.
Our feet are the furthest body part from our brain and therefore, they often get neglected and forgotten about. Are you neglecting your feet?
- We shove them in shoes all day.
- They take on our whole body weight
- We rarely touch and massage them
- Our feet are often judged and criticized.
- We seldom exercise or stretch our feet.
It’s time to start giving your feet some lovin!
I recently started up a new YOUTUBE channel called “Gentle Yoga with Jan”. The focus of the channel is to share a more gentle approach to yoga. After all, not everyone has the stamina to do a “power yoga” practice or the flexibility to get into most traditional yoga poses.
I love yoga and have been teaching it now for almost 20 years. Having some health challenges of my own, I can relate to those with chronic pain, inflammation and fatigue. Yoga CAN be everyone and there ARE ways to modify the traditional poses for even those with limitations. Practicing yoga can be a life saver and I hope you won’t be afraid to give it a try!
Back to our FEET! I just completed filming a series of videos that focus on the FEET. In the first video I show how you can use a simple tennis ball to release tight, dehydrated fascia in the feet. This exercise is simple, doesn’t take a lot of time, and all you need is a tennis ball.
What are the benefits of foot myofascial release work?
- mobilizes toe joints
- hydrates connective tissue
- stimulates nerve endings
- foot mobility and stability (which will help with balance)
- overall sense of well-being
- stimulates lymphatic system
- improves circulation
- relieves common foot pain, bunions, plantar fasciitis, weak arches, and even knee, hip and back pain
- stimulates reflexology points in feet
How often should I do this?
Daily if you can. I recommend placing your tennis ball somewhere that you will see if frequently to help remind you to use it!
Are there any restrictions?
If you have a diagnosed injury or condition, take care to modify where needed. If you are currently under a doctor’s care, talk to them to make sure this is suitable for you.
Keep in mind that while doing myofascial release work, you may feel some mild or severe tenderness. Start off slow. You don’t need to feel pain for it to be effective!!!!! You are in charge of how much pressure you are applying. If you haven’t done this work before, you may be quite tender.
Drink plenty of water before and after working your feet!
Take off your shoes and socks and give this a whirl.
Grab a chair to hold on to. That way you won’t be wobbling around trying to keep your balance. This will also help take some pressure off your hips.
If you are unable to stand, you can do this seated as well.
Begin by placing the ball underneath one of your feet. Gently roll the ball around to get a feel of what your feet feel like.
Bring the ball to the center of your foot in zone 1 and start applying pressure on and off.
Then apply pressure and hold. Take a few deep breaths. (Remember this doesn’t have to be painful).
Move the ball to zone 2 just under the bottom joint of the BIG TOE.
Apply pressure on and off and hold. Take a few breaths.
Do this for each toe. (You won’t be putting the ball under the toe itself, it’s the bottom joint).
Once you’ve done this for each toe, move the ball back to the big toe joint.
Apply pressure again, but now keep the pressure while gliding the ball outward toward the baby toe. Zone 3
(Try to roll underneath the bottom joint of each toe). Do this 3-4 times.
Now move the ball back to the big toe joint again for zone 4.
Starting at the big toe joint, apply pressure and roll towards the heel.
Bring it back to the next toe and roll towards the heel. Proceed in this same way for each toe.
Bring the ball just in front of the heel bone. (This place can be very tender for some).
Apply pressure on and off and then hold. Breathe.
Now while applying pressure, pivot the heel and roll the ball side to side.
Move the ball to the place just under the upper pad of foot and to the left.
Apply pressure on and off and hold for a few breaths.
Move the ball over to the other side, just below the baby toe and under the pad of the upper foot.
Apply pressure on and off and hold for a few breaths.
No move the ball over to the middle of the upper foot.
Scrunch your toes over the ball as if you were trying to pick up the ball.
Release that and now flex your toes back. Repeat that sequence a few times.
Finish by rolling the ball of over your foot.
Now here is where you get to see the magic!
It is VERY important at this point to assess your body and take note to what has just occurred.
- Stand in a neutral position with your arms hanging relaxed at your side.
- Feel your body.
- Does the left side of your body feel any different than the right?
Upper Body assessment
- Fold forward with your arms hanging freely.
- Notice if one arm is hanging lower than the other. (If so, is it the same side as the foot you just worked)?
If you noticed a difference, this shows how just working your feet can effect the rest of your body. This is because we are dealing with connective tissue here. The fascia (connective tissue) is connected to and effects all parts of our body. So by working the fascia in our feet; it also effected the knee, hip back and even shoulders. COOL STUFF HUGH?
NOW repeat the same sequence on the other foot
(Unless you want to be lopsided)
After completing the other side, retest. See if things have evened out.
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