Having strong feet can help you avoid nagging foot issues and injuries like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Strong feet also do a better job of absorbing shock, so there's less strain on your legs when you walk, run, and jump. If you want to build stronger feet, performing these three exercises are a good way to start.
This exercise is often touted as a calf-strengthening move, but when performed barefoot, it is also great for your foot. It strengthens all of the muscles that form your arch, along with those in your forefoot. Stand next to a wall or a piece of furniture that you can grab onto. Then, raise your heels so you're standing just on the balls of your feet. Hold this position for 20 seconds—or even longer if you can bear it! Then, lower your heels back down and rest for about 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise about 10–15 times in a session.
This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in the top of your foot, along with those that stretch down towards and through your toes. You can do it while you're watching television or even working at your desk (as long as you can take your shoes and socks off). Place a marble on the floor, and then use just your toes to grab onto the marble and pick it up off the floor. Start by doing this with your big toe and the one next to it, and then move down the line and use your smaller toes. As you get better and better at this, you can use smaller and smaller marbles.
This exercise is good for the muscles in your heel and towards the back of your foot. Like the other exercises in this article, it is best performed barefoot. Place a firm pillow against the wall, and sit near the wall in a position that makes it easy to put your foot against the pillow. Push your heel into the pillow with firm pressure, and at the same time, draw your toe toward your shin. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Do 10–15 repetitions with each foot.
If you've had a lot of foot problems in the past, working these exercises into your routine should help guard against future injuries. For more ideas and personalized advice, see your podiatrist or visit resources like http://drschoene.com.