This exercise is great for opening up the sole of the foot, the plantar fascia (fascia on the sole of the foot) can often feel constricted and less supportive and elastic than it could be.
If you experience heel pain, plantar fasciitis, or foot restrictions this wonderful exercise, if done regularly will help to ease those symptoms, maybe just a little or maybe a whole lot. It’s got to be worth a few minutes of your time each day to try.
- Stand with bare feet on a firm surface which isn’t too slippery.
- Place a tennis ball on the floor and gently rest either your left or right foot on top of the ball.
- If required use a table or chair to help support yourself.
- Position the ball just behind the line of the toes and slowly shift your weight to apply some pressure to the ball.
- You should feel the pressure of your weight pushing the ball in to the sole of your foot.
- Gently add more weight until the pressure feels pleasantly intense but not quite painful.
- Let your weight and foot settle for a moment as you become accustomed to the feeling.
- When ready, very slowly roll the ball under your foot.
- Take time to notice how it feels as the ball passes through different areas.
- Keep the pressure within the pleasantly intense but not painful range.
- When the ball reaches the heel of your foot, gently press down as if to squash the ball then release.
- Move the ball slightly forward and again press down as if squashing the ball, release.
- Continue moving about an inch at a time towards the starting position each time squashing the ball.
- When you reach the starting position, slowly shift your weight off the ball and place both feet together.
- Stand for a moment taking time to notice how both feet feel compared to each other.
- Does the foot you just worked feel warmer? More alive? Does it tingle? Does it feel lighter?
- Repeat the same process on the other foot and again when finishing compare how both feet feel.
Be gentle, slow and mindful when you take your first steps after the exercise and if possible try and spend some time barefooted afterwards.
This movement is great when performed daily and combined with spending some time walking barefoot.
Watch the video below for an example of the exercise.