Foot doming exercises have been shown to strengthen the muscles of your foot that play an important role in arch support and foot stability. Oftentimes when these muscles are weak or overused, foot pain and irritation occur. This is especially common when engaging in certain activities that place a lot of demand on the foot such as running, landing jumps, and pivoting movements. There is evidence to suggest performing foot doming can improve the stability needed to perform these exercises and even reduce navicular drop – or arch collapse – reducing your risk of injury and foot pain. Whether you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis or are an avid runner looking to improve your foot form, foot doming exercises are for you!
1. Seated Foot Doming
Sit with both your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your heel firmly on the floor, try to draw the arch of your foot upward creating a doming effect, by pulling the base of your big toe towards your heel. Imagine you are shortening the length of your foot by raising your arch. Be mindful not to scrunch your toes or lift the base of your big toe off the floor. Hold 5 seconds to start, rest, then repeat 10 times or until you experience muscle fatigue. As this gets easier, increase your hold to 10 seconds.
2. Standing Foot Doming
Once you are able to perform this exercise with both feet in sitting, you can move on to practicing in standing. Stand with your hands on the back of a chair or table for support, then follow the same cuing as above to create a doming effect with the arch of your foot. Start by doing one foot, until you are able to perform the exercise on each foot in standing independently. Then, you can progress to both feet simultaneously once you have ensured you are completing the exercise correctly without compensatory movements such as excessive ankle movement, toe clawing, or lifting the big toe.
3. Single-Leg Foot Doming
Up for a real challenge? Once you’ve mastered foot doming in standing on two feet, you’re ready to test your balance and foot strength. To do so, stand with your hands on the back of a chair or table for support, and raise one leg off the ground. With the foot on the floor, proceed with the foot doming exercise as above.
Want to add more exercises to your fitness regimen for healthy and happy feet? Curious about how your foot placement impacts your walking pattern? Download the OneStep Digital Physical Therapy app for a free gait analysis and be connected with a licensed PT today to get started!
Vincent, KR. Vincent, HK. Use of Foot Doming for Increasing Dynamic Stability and Injury Prevention in Runners and Athletes. Current Sports Medicine Reports by ACSM. 2018; 17(10): 320-321