If you’re planning to run and exercise outside now that Spring has arrived and the weather has started to improve, don’t forget to stretch your feet! When most people stretch before or after a workout, they tend to focus mostly on their legs. While stretching your legs is certainly beneficial, your feet contain a large number of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that all work together to keep you moving — they need to be stretched before and after your workout too.
The worst thing you can do after a couple of months of indoor running (or no running at all) is to go into it without properly stretching first. Here are five stretches that you can do on your own to keep your feet flexible and free of pain this Spring:
1. Roll a golf ball under your foot
This works great for foot cramping, arch pain relief, and plantar fasciitis pain relief. From a seated position, roll a golf ball under your foot for several minutes. You can rise up and put a little weight on your foot for a deeper effect. A tennis ball is also effective for this stretch.
2. Toe flexing
While sitting down, wrap a large rubber band around your left toes. Flex your toes open and closed, holding for about five seconds each. Do ten reps. Repeat this procedure for your other foot. This stretch is helpful when it comes to preventing foot sprains and arthritis.
3. Walk on sand
Walking barefoot on the sand is an excellent resistance exercise for strengthening the feet and ankles. The more you strengthen your feet and ankles, the less likely you are to get injured.
4. Pick up marbles with your toes
Put a bunch of marbles on the floor and, from a seated position, pick up each of the marbles with your toes and drop them in a box. Repeat with your other foot. This a great exercise for treating hammertoes and metatarsal area pain.
5. Raise, point, and curl your toes
Try these exercises for the treatment of plantar fasciitis and shin splints. While sitting, place your feet flat on the floor and raise them up onto the balls of your feet. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Next, rise further, and move on to the tip of your toes and hold again for five seconds or so. Now, allow your feet to come back down to a flat position and then curl your toes under and hold for about five seconds. Repeat.
If you experience heel or foot pain this Spring, visit us at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Specialists of Clifton for a consultation. Dr. Jefferey Miller and his experienced team work with patients to find a proper diagnosis and once that’s done, they will develop an effective treatment plan. Call (973) 365-2208 to reach our Clifton, NJ office or click here to schedule a consultation online.