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I can’t say enough about how useful tennis balls are for dealing with shoulder pain. (Watch the video here.)And I’ve recently become a convert to tennis balls to help with sore feet, especially as people ask about dealing with foot soreness, ankle pain and issues like Plantar faciaitis.
Just as you would use a tennis ball (or two) to relieve tension in the upper back/shoulders, you can do the same with the feet.
- Take a used tennis ball, and put it in a sock. You can use the tennis ball alone, but I think the sock helps keep the ball from rolling around.
- Before starting, stand in your socks or bare feet on a flat surface, and check in with how your feet feel. Notice any discomfort.
- Sit down in a chair that allows you to sit straight, with both feet on the floor.
- Start by rolling the tennis ball under that foot that is bothering you (or bothering you more). Roll the ball slowly–ball of foot, arch and heel areas– , and notice if there are any places where it feels especially good, and stop at those points for a few deep breaths. If you feel any pain, stop.
- If you think your foot can bear more pressure, take your foot off the ball, and stand up. Roll the ball under your foot again; this time put as much weight on the ball as feels like a good massage. Take a few deep breaths as you bear your weight on the ball. Touch a wall or furniture if you need for balance. If you feel any pain, stop.
- Take your foot off the ball, and once again stand with both feet on the floor. Notice how you feet feel, compared to before, and compared to each other. The foot you just massaged with the ball should feel flatter on the floor.
- Sit back down and do the same with your other foot. Even if you don’t have discomfort in that foot, or think it needs a massage, spend at least a minute to roll the ball under it. Following the principle of yin/yang, it’s always a good idea to give attention to the other side. You’ll likely feel that the other foot feels flatter on the floor, too.
If you’re at home and have the time, you can follow up by giving both feet a massage with your hands.
If you want to get the benefit of this at work, take a tennis ball and roll it under your feet while you work. You can do it while you’re working, or dedicate a few minutes to the above exercise. Your feet, the rest of you body, and your mind will thank you for the brief but effective break.
You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.
I keep thinking about a story last week in the New York Times about women with shoulder and back problems because their bags are too heavy. Apparently, there’s a trend to oversized bags–in the world of fashion-conscious–where women are hauling around so much stuff on one shoulder that massage therapists and chiropractors are seeing an increase in women with shoulder and back issues!
I was surprised to read that the women, and even some of the therapists, thought the physical discomfort was merely an unfortunate consequence of adhering to a fashion trend. This line of thinking is so alien to me, that I was dumbfounded. But then I thought, perhaps there are places in my life that I am a slave to “fashion.”
My commitment to sustainable choices, for example, sometimes stymies my making really sensible choices. For example, I might go out of my way to buy a box of recycled tissues (for my wellness studio.) Was that really sensible when I consider that the extra energy (fossil fuel and my personal time/energy) needed to do that may have cost more than the savings of using recycled tissues. But it’s the thought that counts! Well yes, but also the point is in weighing individual choices within the context of the larger goal.
So, I throw out this question (as much to myself as to you):
- Are you a “slave to fashion” in some way in your life?
Be it handbag fashion, stiletto-heel fashion, or stubbornly-eco fashion. How can you make sensible choices around those? Making a habit of decluttering your purse every Sunday night; stretching and massaging your feet and lower legs after a high-heel day; or remembering the big picture for sustainable choices.