Your body functions best when it's mobile and strong, and your foot is no exception! The arch intrinsic muscles of your foot—the muscles that support your main foot arch, your medial longitudinal arch—can be trained and strengthened, just like any other skeletal muscle in your body, which can be very helpful in building strong, healthy feet and preventing common foot problems.
This video demonstrates how to use a hacky sack to strengthen the plantar arch muscles. You can also use a massage ball, such as the Rubz Foot Massage Ball, in place of a hacky sack. While standing or seated, simply place the hacky sack or massage ball under the ball of your foot and toes, place your heel flat on the floor and underneath your knee, and use your toes to slowly contract your plantar arch muscles to pull the hacky sack or ball back toward your heel.
Note: The Foot Arch Strengthening Exercise can be performed with bare feet or with Injinji toe socks.
You can either hold this contraction or perform repetitions of the exercise. It's best to start off performing either variation of this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds and then slowly, over time, increasing the duration as your foot becomes stronger. Performing this exercise daily will help you develop stronger and more mobile feet! For additional details about how to perform the Foot Arch Strengthening Exercise, please see our post entitled How to Strengthen Intrinsic Foot Muscles.
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Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.