Prior to exercise, many are in the habit of stretching in order to warm-up and prepare the muscles. Stop and consider which part of the body takes the most impact during exercise—the feet! According to the APMA, “Every step places 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on each foot.” If you’re running, that pressure is increased. A foot or ankle injury can be devastating to any exercise plan; sidelining you for days or weeks. Yet, how much time is spent stretching the feet and ankles prior to a workout? Five to ten minutes of thorough stretching can save you from foot pain and injury.
One of the easiest ways to work your ankles is by turning them in a circular motion, inward, and outward while your legs are dangling. To accomplish this you’ll need to sit on a table or bed, and each stretch should be held for a couple of seconds. Doing between ten and twenty reps will prepare your ankles for exercise.
Stretching the arch of your foot, and its supporter, the plantar fascia can be accomplished by using a wall. Stand facing the wall, and place the underneath of the toes of one foot against the wall (your heel should be on the floor). The other leg should be straight and be placed behind you. Now, bend your front knee forward—feel the stretch?
Another “bottom of the foot” and toe stretch can be done as you sit on the floor. Stretch your legs in front of you. Hold a towel (each hand holding one end), so that you can “lasso” your feet. The towel will help you guide your foot back toward you. This can be done for five reps, holding for four seconds each time.
Finally, don’t forget the calves, hamstrings, and lower back. Warming up these areas of the body can keep you from foot and ankle injuries including those that affect the Achilles tendon. Dr. Sanjay Patel’s website lists great stretches for these areas, along with other helpful information regarding your foot health.
Remember, stretch your feet and ankles before exercise, and call Dr. Patel at the first sign of foot pain. Requesting an appointment is as easy as visiting our website. To speak to one of our friendly staff, call the Hamden, CT office at (203)288-4055, or the Milford, CT office at (203)876-7736.