Take a few steps to ease your plantar fascia and stay flexible using tennis balls for a quick foot massage.
With 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, there are a lot of moving parts working when your feet are active. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel to your toes and supports your arch. Walking the brick path of your favorite vacation destination, scampering down a trail, or firmly planted on a mat for a yoga stretch, the muscles in your feet are doing a lot of work. That can lead to a lot of impact, expansion, and contraction on your plantar fascia. Along with appropriate footwear, one of the best ways to keep your feet healthy and you happy is to stretch and massage your feet muscles.
In The Ranch’s Release and Mobilize class, Ranch Instructor Maya Acosta teaches a simple technique to help your feet stay healthy and loose. Think of a tennis ball as a portable and inexpensive foam roller for your feet. “The goal,” says Maya, “isn’t to dig deep into your muscles. The goal is to increase the circulation and oxygenation of the tissue while allowing the muscles to relax.” Don’t have a tennis ball? You can also use a golf ball, frozen water bottle or a rolling pin.
- Start with introducing the feel and texture of the ball by gently rolling your foot across it for about 30 seconds. You can do this seated or standing.
- Rest your toes on the ball and rock your foot from side to side and roll the ball under your toes. When you find a tender spot, proceed gingerly. Lightly roll the ball working around the spot. If it feels ok you can gently apply a little pressure. If it feels like your eyes might pop out of your head because of a sharp pain then back off. This will be true for all areas of your foot as you proceed. Do this for 30 seconds
- Roll the ball down to the ball of your feet, between your arch and toes. Rock the ball from side to side and around the ball of your foot. Again, when you find a tender spot pause there for a few seconds applying slightly more pressure.
- Move to your arch. Gently move the ball the length of your arch. This could be really tender so roll lightly at first. 30 seconds.
- Move the ball under your heel and gently roll it around for around 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other foot.