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It All Starts With Our Feet

By: Dr. Caroline Joy, PT, DPT

As a physical therapist specializing with dancers and performance athletes, I have seen a wide range of foot and ankle concerns and injuries. Additionally, many people present to outpatient physical therapy with knee and hip pain that is directly related to their foot posture. Most commonly, these concerns can be mitigated or improved with minimal changes in a person’s routine. Considering the importance of our feet and how they hold 100% of our body weight, these minimal changes are advantageous for everyone.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss THREE things that people can add to their routine to improve their foot health and reduce their risk for future pain/malalignments. 

Toe Separators

Have you ever noticed how a baby has almost equal width throughout their forefoot? Whereas your average adult foot presents with a narrower toe width, commonly resulting from the design of the majority of shoes. This alignment strays from the natural shape of our toes and feet. Use of toe separators, whether you use them with activity or rest, can help with restoring the natural alignment of our feet. I currently use my toe separators when I am relaxing or walking around the house, and have come to enjoy the way they feel! Check out the link below for an affordable amazon version of the product. 

Using Orthotics

The much anticipated debate- Should we be wearing orthotics 24/7? Or should we be walking barefoot?  I disagree with both extremes. In terms of training shoes, there’s a benefit to challenging the intrinsic foot and ankle muscles by wearing a less supportive shoe. Whereas for your everyday work shoe, there is a great benefit to a supportive shoe maximizing your alignment while you are in a static position. In other words, I have found it most beneficial to train in a less supportive shoe while spending time in prolonged standing and seated in a supportive orthotic.

Both of The Green Room locations have a foot scanner to analyze your foot alignment. This scanner creates a custom orthotic through Foot Levelers.  Call or message us to schedule your free digital foot scan and find out how our custom orthotics may help you.

Strengthening your Feet:


1. Sit/stand with your foot in a neutral/relaxed position

2. Create a "dome" or create a shortened foot by pulling the arch up and drawing the base of the big toe closer to your heel. The end of your toes stay flat.

3. Hold for 3s

Piano Toes

1. Place foot flat on the ground

2. Warm up by extending all toes up and off the ground

3. Begin exercise by isolating the big toe from little toes, alternating which you lift off first and lower down first

4. Repeat for desired amount of repetitions

Single Leg Balance

  1. Stand on one leg and maintain your balance. 

  2. Reach forward with your opposite arm as far as you can without losing your balance. Then return to the starting position. Maintain a slightly bent knee on the stance side.

  3. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Interested in a Physical Therapy evaluation to see how your feet may be affecting the rest of your body? Or want to address your foot pain once and for all? Reach out to schedule an evaluation by phone or here:

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