DES MOINES, Iowa - From the moment we start walking, our feet serve as the foundation for every forward movement. Over time, gravity and ground forces can cause the bone, ligaments and tendons to deteriorate.
"Your poor little foot and toes have to overcome all of that before the energy is disseminated up through the rest of the body so you can actually move forward," said personal trainer, Irene McCormick.
The foot is divided into three sections; The forefoot, mid-foot and hindfoot. The plantar fascia is the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. It's also one of the most common sources of pain.
"Fascia is like the information highway for all the impulses from your brain into your muscles," explained McCormick.
When the fascia becomes inflamed or tears (plantar fasciitis), it causes pain, primarily upon waking. That's when a golf ball or tennis ball can serve as double duty.
"These are super inexpensive and accessible for a concept known as self-massage."
Begin at the forefoot, pushing down on the ball and quickly rolling it back and forth. Move toward the hindfoot, again pushing and massaging. Finally, take a seat and roll the ball upwards, from the heel to the calf.
It doesn't necessarily feel good, but it's good for you - even if you don't have foot pain.
"A healthy foot means less injury, better performance, reaction of your leg, glutes, the reaction you have to exercise in general."