Pilates Equipment for Foot Exercises

When they say Pilates is a full-body system of exercise, they really mean it. Joseph Pilates left no part of the body out of his method. See an introduction to two pieces of equipment he invented for foot-strengthening exercises.

The Pilates foot exercise equipment has been credited with helping strengthen the feet as well as correcting deformities and relieving foot pain. Most Pilates studios have this equipment hidden somewhere, such as under a reformer or a pile of stretch bands and toning balls. If you haven't used the foot equipment yet, ask about it. It is very effective.

The Foot Corrector

Close up of woman rubbing feet
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Simply put, the foot corrector is designed to develop foot strength, flexibility, and lift in the arches of the feet. The foot exercises you do with this equipment are fairly simple. You can practice them on your own once you know them.

However, it is very important that you work with the right alignment and foot action.

You will want to ask a Pilates instructor to teach you the exercises and watch you do them before you get going on your own.

Foot Corrector Styles

Foot correctors come in a variety of designs—with the bar in the middle, with or without foot grips, and different levels of resistance in the springs. A contemporary design has the bar in the middle so that you don't have to flip the corrector around in order to press with the heel.

Using the Foot Corrector

The ball of the foot is placed on the bar of the foot corrector. This placement can be adjusted depending on the areas of the foot that need strengthening. The foot presses the bar down without the aid of body weight—just foot action. The quality of the move is an up-and-over arch that creates a dome of the foot. The corrector bar will tilt slightly with the movement of the foot.

The heel of the foot is also used to press the bar down while the ball of the foot is stable. The heel moves down and scoops toward the front of the foot, creating a long, high arch. Both foot positions require a stable, even pelvis above.

The Toe Exerciser

The toe exerciser is a strengthening and correcting device. Some people have reported that it helps correct bunions. It can be used to strengthen the toe joints and align them. There are also exercises where one foot rotates away from the other, stretching the toe exerciser, and increasing the strength of the joint.

Other Foot Strengthening Exercises

Standing on towel
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The strength, flexibility, and balanced development of the foot affect the whole body. Don't let a lack of foot exercise equipment keep you from doing foot strengthening exercises. Examples of foot exercises you can do without fancy equipment include arch lifts and towel curls.

  • Arch Lift: Sitting or standing, keep your toes relaxed and start a bit of a sliding motion, pulling the ball of your foot and your heel toward each other. The toe and heel remain on the floor as your arches hollow up off the floor. This is not a big move. Release and relax your foot to its starting position. Repeat three to five times.
  • Towel Curl: Sit with your heels under your knees and feet on a towel with extra fabric in front of your feet. Keeping your heels down, flex your foot and pull the towel toward your heel by scooping it in with your arch and toes. Try to keep a deep dome under the arch area. Repeat the move at least five times per foot.
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