6 Foot and Ankle Exercises
Since our Healthy Hairdresser Challenge for June involves taking care of your feet and legs, Healthy Hairdresser did a little research to see what exercises are recommended. You stand much of the day, so moving your feet and ankles is critical in maintaining a long career at the salon.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has developed a Foot and Ankle Conditioning Program designed to strengthen the lower leg, ankle and foot while adding flexibility. You’ll still need to break up your long hours of standing with periods of sitting and walking, but keeping your feet and lower legs strong will help! AAOS advises that you perform these exercises 3-5 days per week.
Heel Cord Stretch
- Stand facing a wall, with one leg forward and slightly bent at the knee, the other leg straight and behind you with the heel flat and the toes slightly pointed inward and your back straight, not arched.
- Keeping both heels flat on the floor, press your hips forward toward the wall.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, relax for 30 seconds. Repeat in 2 sets of 10, switch legs and repeat entire exercise. Then repeat the process, but bend the leg behind you.
Golf Ball Roll
- Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor.
- Sitting tall, roll a golf ball under the arch of one foot for 2 minutes. Repeat with the other foot.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight and both legs out in front of you.
- Loop a hand towel in both hands, and grasp the ends of the towel with both hands.
- Keeping the leg straight, pull the towel toward you.
- Hold for 30 seconds, relax for 30 seconds and repeat in 2 sets of 10, and repeat with the other leg.
- Standing with your weight evenly distributed over both feet, hold onto the back of a chair or a wall for balance.
- Lift one foot off the floor.
- Placing all of your weight on your other foot, raise the heel of that foot as high as you can without bending the knee, and then lower it. Repeat in 2 sets of 10, switch feet and repeat.
Ankle Range of Motion
- Sit down on a high enough surface that your feet do not touch the floor.
- Bending your ankle so that your toes point down, lead with your big toe to use your foot to write each letter of the alphabet in the air. Keep the movement small, involving just your foot and ankle. Repeat 1 time, switch legs and repeat.
- Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor, and place 20 marbles on the floor in front of you.
- Using the toes of one foot, pick up one marble at a time and place into a bowl.
- Repeat until you have picked up all the marbles, and then repeat with the other foot. You also can do this exercise by placing a towel in front of you and grabbing the center of the towel with your toes; repeat five times.