Give Yourself a Foot Massage

| Well Being


It doesn't matter who you are or what you do because every person on this planet can benefit from a foot massage. The tough part is finding someone to do it for you, especially if you're ticklish. There are plenty of home foot spas available, but those can cost an average of $50, plus you can't really bring those to work with you. To save money, time and space, all you need is a little ball. Try a lacrosse, tennis or golf ball, or pick up a massage-specific ball that usually dons some nubs or spikes.

The tendon underneath the foot that connects the toes to the heel is your plantar fascia. This can become strained or tight over time, especially if your shoes lack good support, you have really high arches or really flat feet, you're on your feet a lot (servers and nurses), you're overweight or you're a runner. For preventative care, you'll want to keep this tendon limber and relaxed. It's common for it to develop tiny tears, leading to plantar fasciitis. More on this in a bit.

The best way to receive a massage is to first relax the muscles. Sit down or lean against something so you can take the weight off the foot you're massaging.

The Arch: You'll focus on three lines: the inner arch on the big toe side; the middle arch in center of the foot; and the outer arch on the pinky toe side. Set your foot on the ball with a gentle pressure working the inner arch first. Begin at the ball of the foot and slowly roll your foot over it. You want to move slowly enough that you can feel where it might be more tender. If you get to a sore spot like that, stop. Breathe and exhale, relaxing the foot into the ball even more. You can hold it here for up to a minute, wiggling a bit if needed. Then continue down the line. Try running that line again, two to three times. Repeat this for the inner and outer lines, changing pressure as needed. You can also roll it in circles under the foot.


The Heel: Going back to the plantar fascia tendon, this is something you'll want to focus on to relieve and prevent heel pain. This type of pain is on the bottom of your foot. If you're experiencing pain on the back side where your Achîlles is, that's a different problem and you do not want to attempt a massage. Instead, make an appointment with an orthopedist.

>> Read more: A Pain in the Heel: Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Sitting down, rest your foot on the ball. Roll it back until the ball is at the soft spot of your heel, right in front of the heel's cushion. Drop your toes to the floor so they're angled as if you were wearing high heels. Begin to apply pressure. You don't need to move the ball or your foot at first. Hold it here for about 30 seconds, then begin to rock the ball back and forth, side to side and around in tiny circles. Pair it with the kneeling toes pose for full stretch.


>> Read more: How a Massage Can Do A Body Good

The Toes: You can't forget the toes! They are responsible for balancing your body and spread out to support mobility. Life without toes would be very different, so show them some love. Roll the ball into the toes and let them relax, wrapping around it. Run the ball side to side and in small circles. Lift the heel higher and press into the ball; lower the heel to change pressure. Liberally massage the area. You can also take your index finger and thumb, pinch each individual toe and rub side to side like you're kindling a fire until you reach the top.


>> Read more: The Science of Stretching