Waking up with foot pain isn’t any fun. Since you’re not actively moving while you sleep, soft tissues and joints in your feet can tighten overnight.

The cause of foot pain can be linked to plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the ligament that runs down the bottom of your foot), or Achilles tendonitis, which is pain in the tendon that connect the lower calf muscle to your heel. Stiff ankle joints and feet can also be the result of rheumatoid arthritis.

In reflexology, the feet correspond to specific muscle groups of organs of the body. The nerve endings in the extremities (like the hands and feet) provide a sort of map that links to ailments in the rest of the body. This map is referred to as an energy meridian, and is synonymous to the way the lymphatic system or circulatory system runs through the body.

When pressure is applied to certain areas of the feet, there is often improvement and better functioning in related areas of the body. It is also a great form of stress relief.

With that in mind, the feet are incredibly complex, and there can be many reasons why your feet may ache throughout the day. In fact, the foot is made out of thirty-eight bones, and each bone and its respective connective tissues are susceptible to stress. I mean, just think about it – your feet are what hold you up for most of the day, so they deserve the most care!

Keeping your feet healthy and flexible may require a little bit of extra care and special attention, however, it’ll help relieve pain and keep them in tip-top shape.

Exercises For Keeping Your Feet Strong

1. Five-Finger Toe Spread

Sit on a chair and cross your left leg, resting your ankle on your right thigh. Weave the fingers of your right hand through the toes of your left foot to separate them. Rock the toes back and forth and then switch sides.

2. Ball Roll

In a sitting position, with feet flat on the floor, roll a golf ball or tennis ball under the arch of each foot for two minutes. Be sure to apply downward pressure while rolling the ball under the foot. Do this for about two minutes each foot.

3. Towel Stretch

While sitting on the floor or in a chair, stretch your feet out in front of you and loop a towel around the ball of one foot. Hold the ends of the towel with both hands, and while keeping your back and legs straight, pull the foot toward you. Hold for 30 seconds and do two sets of 10 repetitions.

4. Toe Point and Curl

In a standing position, point your toe down to the floor, and push your ankle forward, curling the toes so they are flush with the floor. You should feel a stretch along the top of the foot. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat seven times.

5. Toe Raise

While standing with your feet firmly planted on the ground, stretch your toes towards the ceiling as far as they will go, and then slowly lower to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times per foot.

6. Rock Out

Stand up straight with your feet at shoulder’s width apart. Move your body weight to the outside of one foot, then quickly rock to the other side, being mindful of keeping your weight first on the outside, then on the inside of each foot. Repeat ten times for each foot.

Other Ways To Improve Foot Health

Aside from the stretches mentioned above, you can also perform the following to help improve foot health:

1. Self Massage helps by loosening tension in the feet and improve blood and lymph flow.

2. Epsom Salt Baths are soothing and are a good source of magnesium – a key nutrient in relaxing sore muscles.

3. Proper Footwear should be worn to improve posture and reduce foot pain. Avoid wearing flip flops and high heels, and instead, choose firm, supportive shoes.

4. Yoga can help promote gentle stretching of the feet – this one has actually helped reduce pain along the bottom of my feet, which I would feel a couple times a month.

5. Earthing is another great way to remediate the feet. We’re often so stuck up in shoes or socks that we never get a fair chance to put our feet on nature itself. Back in the day, humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground, where our bodies and feet soaked up limitless healing energy. Science has now discovered that this energy promotes health, harmonizes and stabilizes the body’s basic biological rhythms, and neutralizes inflammation.