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Foot pain is frustrating. Foot pain with a new baby to care for can seem hopeless. Unfortunately, many mums are vulnerable to foot pain throughout their pregnancy due to the increased stress on their bodies, combined with a surge of ligament-relaxing hormones.

We see and treat many new mums who put off their appointment for months because they don’t have the time or energy to come in (plus a part of them was hoping the pain would get better on its own!). If this sounds like you and you haven’t made it in to see your podiatrist yet, we’ve put together some easy and gentle foot and leg exercises that you can complete at home while looking after your little one. 

No equipment needed and nothing strenuous – just simple movements to get the limbs moving, slowly improve flexibility and strength, and get the blood pumping to assist your body’s repair process. This way, when you do make it in to see us, you’ll already be one step ahead on your road to recovery.

To learn more about how pregnancy affects your feet and legs, click here.

Toe Curls

  • Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor
  • Lay a kitchen towel or hand towel on the floor in front of you, so the short end is at your feet
  • Put your heel on the end of the towel with the rest of the towel in front of your foot, and without moving your heel, lift your toes and flex your foot back, stretching your toes out as far as possible
  • Place your forefoot back down on the towel, curling your toes under your foot and gripping the towel where possible. Try to move the towel down towards your heel
  • Repeat five times with each foot

Toe Pick-Up

  • Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor
  • Place 10 crayons/pens/wet wipes or other small objects that you have handy in a small bowl on the floor in front of you
  • Pick up one item at a time with your toes on one foot and place it in the bowl
  • Repeat with the other foot

Tennis Ball Roll

  • Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor
  • Place a tennis ball, or other small, firm ball on the floor near your feet
  • Put your foot on top of the ball and roll it around, massaging your foot
  • Increase or decrease pressure as needed
  • Massage your foot with the ball for two minutes
  • Repeat with the other foot

Towel Calf Stretch

  • Sit flat on the floor
  • Loop a towel around your foot so that it sits behind your toes
  • Using the towel, pull your toes towards your body, keeping your knee straight, until you start to feel a concerted stretch in your calf muscle
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds
  • Repeat 3-5 times on each foot

Achilles Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall, with your arms shoulder-width apart 
  • Place your palms on the wall
  • Place one foot behind you with knee straight, bending the knee on your front leg.
  • Make sure both heels are flat on the floor
  • Lean forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon and calf muscle
  • To increase the stretch, move the back leg slightly further back, repeating until you reach the desired position
  • Hold the stretches for 30 seconds each and repeat three times
  • Swap the position of your legs and repeat with the other leg

Leg Circles

  • Lie down on the floor with your arms by your sides, palms down.
  • Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor
  • Extend your right leg up so that it’s perpendicular to the floor
  • Circle your right leg out to the side, down toward the ground, and return to your starting position. Make the circle as big as you can while still keeping your lower back on the floor
  • Reverse the circle
  • Complete five repetitions on one leg, and then repeat on the other

Remember that these exercises are general and not specific to your pain or injury. If you feel any pain, skip the exercise, or reduce the intensity so that no pain is felt. If you try to ‘push through the pain’, you risk aggravating and worsening the injury. If anything does cause you discomfort, make a note and let your podiatrist know when you see them.

A few extra household tips…

Small changes around the home can make a large difference to your recovery time and outcomes, especially if your foot pain is making it difficult for you to walk comfortably. We’re parents too, so our personal tips for making life that little bit easier with a baby are:

  • If you live in a multi-storey home, try and get as many things that you need for you and bub into the main room with you to save yourself numerous trips up and down the stairs while your pain is still quite prominent
  • Keep your baby’s nappies and wipes close to you by creating a mini change station in the lounge or other room where you and bub are. This will reduce the amount you have to move whenever nappies need changing
  • If you have help from a partner, get them to get as many things ready the night before as possible. This may include getting lunches and clothes ready for any other kids, clearing all the bins and making items you need for tomorrow easily accessible for you
  • Consolidate your tasks as much as you can. Need to use the bathroom? Use it as an opportunity to grab other items that you’ll need on your way back from the bathroom (like a snack or a different toy). The more you stay mindful of allowing your body to repair the injury, the better your outcome is likely to be

When you’re ready to get help, we’d love to be the podiatry team to take care of you and your family. We’ve been proudly helping care for Australia’s foot health for over 20 years, and understand the impact that pain can have on your well-being. You can book your appointment online or call us on 1800 FOOTDR.