We’re well into sunny summer and all things hiking, running, and adventuring. All that activity can take a toll on your body, especially your feet! Increased exercise means that some of us find ourselves desperately trying to squeeze in a visit to our healthcare providers for some long overdue TLC. But what are you to do when you’re in the middle of a hike and your feet need some care? The next time you’re deep in the woods on a backpacking trip and wish a massage therapist could materialize and work on you–look no further than yourself! This blog will teach you a few key steps for do it yourself foot massage. Read on to learn self-care for your foundation, and massage tips that will keep you going between professional massage sessions.
Once you’re ready to massage, go ahead and find a spot to take a seat. Remove shoes and socks. Any of the following techniques can be performed individually, or grouped together in any order. For today, we’ll start at the ends of the toes and work up towards the ankle.
Starting your work at the toes can open lymph channels and aid toe mobility. Interlace fingers between the toes. This technique can be held in a static position starting with 15-30 seconds. Gradually increase time as your toes relax and if it feels good!
Explore the arches (you have three!) to find tender areas or sore muscles. Slowly press a knuckle into the bottom of the foot and hold for 30 seconds. Lift and move to new areas throughout the medial longitudinal arch, from the inner part of the heel through the base of the big toe. Impact the transverse arch just behind the ball of the foot, moving side-to-side. Or work through the lateral-longitudinal arch on the outside of the foot to find tender areas.
Place both hands cupping the inside and outside of the heel, wrapping your fingers under the bottom of the heel. Gently squeeze and release the palms of your hands together like a pump. Move through from the base of the heel up towards the ankle.
Top of the Foot
Group fingers together or stack one hand on top of the other. Move along the top of the foot from the bases of the toes towards the ankle. Repetitive passes along the top of the foot will help decrease any accumulated swelling and can help sooth extensor tendons that connect to the toes.
Group or stack fingers together, placing the fingertips along the ankle bones. Gently circle the ankle bones. Move in a fluid and circular direction along the inside and outsides of the ankle bones. Use caution over bony landmarks or when applying pressure over sensitive areas.
Once you’ve completed these techniques don’t forget to repeat on the other foot! Giving attention and care to the uninjured side is a great way to prevent injury. Depending on the cause of your discomfort, the above steps may not fully alleviate symptoms. If your discomfort persists, seek out your nearest health care provider for an evaluation.
For readers lucky enough to live in the greater Portland area, our very own massage therapist is here to help with your foot-care. Rebecca Shapiro, LMT specializes in foot and lower limb health needs. Schedule your session today.