The term foot gymnastics encompasses numerous exercises for strengthening the foot muscles and for the mobility of the ankle and toe joints . Vein gymnastics , which involves the leg muscles to prevent varicose veins , is closely related . All of these exercises are performed barefoot and have an important place in physiotherapy .
Foot gymnastics is a valuable compensation for the sedentary lifestyle and the immobilization of the feet in the shoes . This is especially important for children in order to develop a healthy arch of the foot and to promote fine motor skills. There are many fun game ideas available for this target group.
On foot problems in children
If the healthy development of the feet is impaired, there will be changes in body statics and gait . Around 98% of all children are born today with healthy feet, but around 60% have foot damage in adulthood. The main reasons for this are shoes that don't fit properly and too frequent shoe wear. Children's feet are much softer than adult feet. Due to the fat layer on their feet (because the nervous system has to develop first), children do not feel pain in shoes that are too small . Shoes that are too big, however, inhibit the natural urge to move.
Foot problems start in childhood. Children's feet are as soft as rubber and therefore fit into shoes that are much too small. This allows the feet to be deformed without being noticeable first. If the shoes are too small over several development phases, the feet become sick. Toes , joints , arches of the feet and muscles develop non-physiologically. Knees, hips and back are affected. These problems are usually only noticed in adulthood.
Children's feet need a lot of freedom of movement. Walking barefoot and doing foot exercises is good for your development. In kindergarten , feet grow by around two sizes a year, parents should consider this when buying shoes. The consequences of wrong shoes and too frequent shoe wear are increasingly becoming apparent in preschool examinations. The requirements for posture , movement and coordination are more and more often not adequately met.
Foot exercise stations have been set up in some barefoot parks .
Foot exercises in adults
In the adult sector too, foot gymnastics is a component of physiotherapy and sport-specific training. Special strengthening and flexibility training for the feet is particularly important in ballet training .
Foot gymnastics is also recommended as compensation training for under-stress caused by civilization. If hallux valgus develops due to incorrect footwear, foot exercises can provide relief.
- Barbara Köhler, Heidi Reber: Children do foot gymnastics . Hippocrates, 2003, ISBN 3-8304-5220-9 .
- Lorenz Kerscher: We get mobile barefoot - instructions for sports education, therapy, nature experience and family fun. 1st edition. Fidibus-Verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-943411-23-2 .