Foot Strengthening with Marbles or Balls
Toe exercises using marbles (or alternately, small balls and pebbles) are one of the best ways you can improve your foot strength to treat plantar fasciitis and heel spurs:
How Do Toe Exercises Help Plantar Fasciitis?
Exercises that isolate and work the muscles in the toes might sound like a waste of time. After all, how strong do one’s toes really need to be?
But as the old saying goes, “the toe bone’s connected to the heel bone!” Each set of muscles and bones in your feet work together to distribute body weight, as well as the impact of running, walking, and jumping. By improving the strength and flexibility of one muscle group, you’re improving the stability of your arch and heel.
Foot-strengthening exercises promote long-term healing of plantar fasciitis by sharing the load of weight distribution and impact, as well as stabilizing gait problems and pronation — both of which commonly cause or worsen plantar fasciitis.
How to Use Marbles for Foot Therapy
Don’t let the simplicity of this marble pick-up exercise fool you! Not only is it a fantastic way to improve strength and flexibility in your toes and feet, but it can be done almost anywhere. All you’ll need is a chair and a few marbles, pebbles, or small balls:
- Sit in a chair with both feet planted on the floor in front of you.
- Scatter several small marbles, pebbles, or balls on the floor near your feet, so they can be picked up with your toes.
- Place a drinking cup or mug on the floor within easy reach of your foot
- Try to pick up the marbles or pebbles using only your toes.
- After picking up each marble or pebble, grip it with your toes, then try to place it in the drinking cup or mug.
How Often Should I Exercise my Toes?
Don’t be discouraged if toe and foot exercises are difficult at first. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, many of the small stabilization muscles in your feet and toes may be weak and inflexible.
Start by setting aside just 5-10 minutes, three times a week, for this exercise. If that’s too difficult, keep track of how many marbles you can comfortably pick up with one foot, then use that as your starting point, making it a goal to add a couple more marbles each time you exercise.
Should I Exercise My Healthy Foot, or Just the Foot with Plantar Fasciitis?
Use this marble pick-up exercise on both feet, even if only one foot is currently affected by plantar fasciitis! This will help avoid an imbalance in strength and flexibility that can lead to gait problems and roadblocks to recovery.
Keep in mind that your healthy foot may be under more strain than you realize! Often, when there are symptoms of plantar fasciitis in one foot, the other foot is required to pick up the slack, –putting it at increased risk for developing plantar fasciitis as well!
Looking for more easy toe and foot exercises? We’ve got you covered! Check out our entire video library of stretches and exercises.