Many people experience foot or ankle pain at some point. Loss of foot flexibility and strength due to chronically shortened muscles and connective tissue can lead to general aches and pains in the feet – or worse – overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis. In addition, foot problems can translate into ankle, knee, hip and low back pain. By exercising and massaging the feet with a golf ball, a person can effectively reduce pain from plantar fasciitis, heel spur and ankle pain.
When used together with conservative treatments like orthotics, exercises, icing, and rest, a golf ball massage can offer all of the following benefits:
Stimulates blood flow to the arch and improves circulation
Improves oxygen and nutrient absorption in the foot muscles
Lowers cortisol levels, which helps promote recovery and healing
Relaxes and loosens tight, constricted muscles and ligaments
Helps temporarily numb pain signals from nerves in the foot
Helps break up scar tissue and adhesions that restrict movement and cause pain
Relieves stress and promotes a greater sense of well-being by prompting the release of endorphins (hormones that can help block pain signals)
Many of alternative practitioners believe you can access various organs and other body parts through the feet. Acupuncturists routinely needle the feet because many of the meridian inlets and outlets of the body begin and end in the foot. Major acupuncture points for ailments like back pain, digestive issues, and kidney and liver problems reside in the foot.
To perform a golf ball massage:
Place a golf ball on the yoga mat, towel or carpet otherwise the ball may roll away during massage.
When self-massaging, you need to put some force into it. You have to remember that the feet and plantar fascia is an incredibly strong structure of bones, muscles and tissue. We run, jump and walk on it every day, so it can take a lot of stress and force. Massaging the foot gently into the ball will not do the trick.
You can do this massage in sitting or standing position. Personally, I recommend doing it in standing position because while you sit, you do not get as much force into it as you need, unless you really lean on it.
During massage if you find sore, tender spots, put slightly more pressure on it and hold it there for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Move on, but revisit it again one more time. This may “hurt good” but should not cause pain.
Don't avoid painful and tender spots on your foot, don’t be afraid to work those areas, because it is indicative of a problem area that needs to be released. Put as much pressure as you can, as much pressure as it's comfortable for you.
Here is how to do it:
Take off your shoes and socks and place a golf ball under one foot. Use your body weight to apply moderate pressure (“hurts good”).
Start rolling the outer length of the foot, from heel to pinkie toe and back, then to each toe of the foot.
Roll the ball from outside to inside of the foot, from heel to the base of the toes and back.
Next, work the base of the toes. Give more attention to the area under big toe. You can use circular strokes or go back and forth.
Then, roll around the heel.
Place the ball in the middle of the foot. Keep heel on the ground, curl toes around the ball and try to touch the ground. Put a bit more pressure on it and hold it for 20-30 seconds. Massage middle of the foot.
Repeat each movement 2-3 times.
It is important to do this massage on both feet.
You can use circular strokes or go back and forth. Do whatever feels good. Play with the ball and enjoy massage.
Remember, if you find sore spot work on it.
If you apply this technique on a regular basis, you can eventually stand up and place most of your weight on the golf ball.
Adding this simple massage to your daily routine will keep your feet healthy and happy. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel all over.