Intrinsic Foot Muscles

Here are a bunch of exercises to strengthen your intrinsic foot muscles.  These muscles are important in terms of keeping your foot in good health.  

Using a towel to assist in strengthening the foot is often helpful.  

Massage for Plantar Fasciitis:

Massage is very important when it comes to breaking down scar tissue that may have accumulated in your plantar fascia (especially after many months or years with this condition).  You can massage this area by putting your affected foot over your opposite leg, pulling your toes backwards and massaging in the direction of the plantar fascia as shown here.  <input video>  If you are unable to get your foot over your leg because of tightness or pain, or your hands are unable to provide enough pressure to the area (due to weakness or arthritis), a massage ball is extremely useful.  <input photo of ball here and video too>.  To increase the pressure of the massage, you just need to lean forwards into the ball and you will get a deeper massage.  As another option, a tennis ball or golf ball can be used – however, I have found that this spikey massage ball works best.  

Abductor Hallucis Longus (inside foot muscle to help with bunion)

This exercise is quite tricky and most people that have a bunion or their first toe is drifting to the outside, have trouble at first because this muscle is quite weak.  

First, try splaying your toes.  See if you can move your toe to the outside.  Not up into the air (which is what most people can do) but out towards your other foot.  <insert picture>.  Place your fingers on the inside aspect of your foot.  You should feel the muscle contracting as you splay your toes.  If you are having trouble with this, don’t worry.  It will take a lot of practice.  If you feel tired or crampy, this is normal.  

Take a break and practice again later.  Doing this exercise will really make a difference for you in the future in terms of your toe drifting to the side and potentially causing your second toe to cross over your first toe.  The stronger you can make this muscle (even moving it a few millimetres) may make a big difference to you buying shoes that are deep enough and in terms of comfort in the long run.  Make sure you diligently do this exercise to keep you abductor hallucis longus strong.