Research shows that walking is good medicine for arthritis pain.1 But the most difficult thing about having arthritic feet and ankles is that walking around with that discomfort in your feet makes you want to stop doing exactly that—walking. So if you’re one of the many people suffering from foot arthritis pain, chances are good you’re choosing Netflix on the couch over a weekend hike or a walk in the park.
However, while that option may be tempting, it’s important to keep your joints moving and to find a good balance between activity and rest.1 If movement is currently too painful, try using a topical arthritis medication and strengthening your feet over time with these foot exercises.
If you need relief from arthritis pain, use Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel. It provides targeted relief from arthritis pain where you need it most.
Don’t stop there, though. Strengthening the feet is a great way to reduce arthritis pain, explains Jordan Metzl, MD, sports medicine physician at Hospital For Special Surgery. “The more strength you have, the better your feet will act and feel,” says Dr. Metzl.
Want to give strengthening a go? Dr. Metzl suggests the following foot exercises to help reduce arthritis symptoms, so you can be active.
[NOTE: Before trying any exercise, consult with your health care provider to be sure these movements are safe for you.]
1. Pick Up Marbles with Toes
Sit barefoot on the edge of a chair. Spread marbles out on the floor in front of you with a cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up one marble at a time and place it into the cup. Continue for five to 10 marbles, then switch feet and repeat.
2. Foot Massage on Ball
Place a small ball (golf, tennis, lacrosse, etc.) on the floor in front of you. Lift one foot and place it on top of the ball. Slowly roll all parts of your foot around the ball. Continue for two to three minutes, then switch feet and repeat.
3. Tree Pose
Stand with feet hip-width apart. With the help of your hands, bend knee to lift one foot and place it on the inner thigh of opposite leg, bent knee facing outward. Once you feel balanced on standing foot, bring palms to touch at heart’s center, or drop them to your side. Balance for 10 to 20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Advanced: If you feel balanced and want a challenge, close your eyes while holding this pose.
Try these exercises and you’ll notice that the stronger your feet get, the less arthritis pain you experience.