Accessibility Tools

Foot Rehabilitation Exercises

A foot injury or foot surgery may leave you immobile for a period of time. To return to your regular activities and more strenuous recreational activities, it is necessary for you to follow a well-planned activity and exercise program.

You are encouraged to start walking with crutches or a walker following your surgery. Your doctor will help to structure and supervise an exercise routine that is ideal for you. A good exercise program to rehabilitate foot and ankle conditions focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles and tendons of the lower leg, feet, and ankles to relieve pain and soreness, keep the muscles flexible, provide stability and prevent future injury.

Always begin with a few warm-up exercises, followed by stretching, then move on to the strengthening exercises, followed again by stretching. If you experience pain, stop and contact your doctor, who will modify the routine to suit you. Some of the exercises that are prescribed include:

Heel cord stretches

Stand with a wall in front of you. Put your unaffected foot ahead of you with the knee bent and your affected foot straight behind you. While supporting yourself on the wall, press your hips forward with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Heel cord stretch with bent knee

Stand with a wall in front of you. Put your unaffected leg ahead of you with the knee slightly bent and your affected leg straight behind you, with the knee bent and the toes pointed in slightly. While supporting yourself on the wall, press your hips forward towards the wall with your heels flat on the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions. Stretch should be felt in your calf muscles, heel and calf. Perform this exercise for six to seven days a week. 

Golf ball rolling

Sit on a chair with both feet on the ground. Use your affected foot to roll a golf ball under the arch of the foot. Perform this activity for 2 minutes.

Towel stretching

Sit on the floor with the legs straight in front of you. Hook a towel under your affected foot and holding both ends pull towards yourself, keeping the leg straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds with 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Calf raises

Stand behind a chair and support yourself as you raise your unaffected leg behind you putting all your weight on the affected foot. Lift the heel and raise your body up, then lower. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Ankle range of motion

Sit on the ground in a position that your feet do not touch the floor. Write each letter of the alphabet in the air using your foot. Start with your big toe. Try keeping small movements. Perform 2 sets daily.

Marble activity

Sit down on a chair and place 20 marbles on the floor near your affected foot. Use your toes to pick up one marble at a time and place it into a container.

Follow the routine three to five times a week for four to six weeks or as specified by your doctor. After this, you may continue the program to maintain strength and range of motion.

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