Exercises for Foot Pain: A Four-Phase Program

By Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

We all know if your feet hurt, you probably don’t function well, and we all know many patients complain of foot pain at one time or another. What are the exercise strategies we can use to help improve the function of our patients’ feet? I try to develop an exercise program for the intrinsic muscles, extrinsic muscles, neuromotor control and arthrokinematics. Here’s a four-phase program you can use in your practice.

Changing Foot Biomechanics: Start by Observing the Feet

Changing the foot biomechanics starts with the foot examination, which includes visual analysis, shoes and socks off. I note pronation, supination, calluses, bunions, hammer toes, a deviated great toe (hallux abducted valgus), and scars (especially surgical that the patient forgot to tell me about).

Visual analysis is followed by some functional tests (small knee bends, squats, etc.) and then palpation, feeling for point tenderness in the foot, ankle, calf, knee, etc. Palpation gives me an opportunity to trace the pain. As needed, I perform ortho and neuro tests, etc., and then maybe decide to offer the patient an orthotic. Read More

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