Five Easy Stretches to Treat Foot-Pain

The first experience many people have with a significant foot condition may occur the moment their heels hit the floor, which is usually first thing in the morning.

Intense heel pain is typically a sign of Plantar Fasciitis. This common condition actually begins in the longitudinal tissues of the foot arch, although the initial pain frequently presents itself in the heel.

There are many factors that can contribute to Plantar Fasciitis, such as playing impact sports, wearing flat shoes with virtually no support or wearing high heels. Wearing heels may specifically shorten the calf-muscles and cause the Achilles Tendon to thicken, contributing to pain in the feet.

Try these easy calf-stretches and other self-care techniques to prevent and reduce pain today-- and feel free to also check out this video: 

http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/the-body-shop-arch-enemy

1-Calf Raises: Strengthens the tendons in your heels and calf muscles, which support your arch.
To Do: Raise up on the balls of your feet as high as possible. Slowly lower down. Do three sets of 10 reps. Progress to doing the raises on stairs (with heels hanging off), and then to single-leg raises.

2-Step Stretch: Improves flexibility in your Achilles tendon and calf—when these areas become tight, the arch gets painfully overloaded. 

To Do: Stand at the edge of a step, toes on step, heels hanging off. Lower your heels down, past the step, then raise back up to the start position. Do three sets of 10 reps.

3-Doming: Works the arch muscles and the tibialis posterior (in the calf and foot) to control excess pronation (meaning that feet point inward too much when you walk and run).

To Do: While standing, press your toes downward into the ground while keeping the heel planted, so that your foot forms an arch (or dome). Release, and do three sets of 10 reps on each foot.

4-Toe Spread and Squeeze: Targets the interossei muscles of the foot, which support the arch.
To Do: While sitting, loop a small resistance band around your toes. Spread toes; release. Then place a toe separator (used at nail salons during pedicures, which you can buy at any beauty store) in between toes. Squeeze toes in; release. Do three sets of 10 reps of each exercise on both feet. 

5-Towel Curls: Works the toe-flexor muscles that run along your arch to increase overall foot strength.
To Do: Place a small hand towel on the floor, and place one foot on the towel. Using just your toes, “grab” and scrunch the towel toward you, hold, then slowly push the towel away from you back to start position. Do three sets of 10 reps on each foot.

One more way to “chill” out arch pain:

If the arch or other areas of your feet hurt after a hard workout or a long day, grab a big bag of frozen peas or frozen corn niblets from the freezer and apply to the soles of your feet (while still in the bag!). A bottle of frozen water, or even a can of soda, also works. Also be sure to check out DoctorInsole® orthotic insoles which can help comfort, correct and relieve your feet. 

 

Caption for photo:

Calf raises not only help prevent foot pain—this stretch and others tone and sculpt legs!

Posted in News Tip of the Week