Before beginning an exercise regimen, proper stretching is essential. If muscles are properly warmed up, the strain on muscles, tendons, and joints is reduced.
Stretching exercises should take 5-10 minutes, and ought to be conducted in a stretch/hold/relax pattern without any bouncing or pulling. It is important to stretch the propulsion muscles in the back of the leg and thigh (posterior), and not forget the anterior muscles.
Some effective stretching exercises include:
Excessive tightness of the calf muscles can contribute to many foot problems and some knee problems. A key point of injury is the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel. When the calf muscle tightens up, it limits the movement of the ankle joint.
- The wall push-up. Face a wall from three feet away, with feet flat on the floor, and knees locked. Lean into the wall, keeping feet on the floor and hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.
- The hamstring stretch. Put your foot, with knee straight, locked, on a chair or table. Keep the other leg straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, then switch to the other leg.
- Lower back stretch. In a standing position, keep both legs straight, feet spread slightly. Bend over at the waist and attempt to touch the palms of your hands to the floor. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Calf muscle stretching is very useful in the treatment of many foot disorders and for the prevention of foot problems. Two typical methods for stretching your calf muscles include:
The conventional method most runners use while facing and leaning into a wall.
An alternative method of standing approximately two feet from a wall. While facing the wall, turn your feet inward ("pigeon toed") and lean forward into the wall, keeping your heels on the floor and the knees extended. Keep your back straight and don't bend at the hips. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and do the stretch 10 times in a row.
Plantar Fasciitis Stretching Exercises
Routine stretching is very important to healing platar fasciits. Most of those affected by plantar fasciitis have decreased flexibility and tight Achilles Tendons.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of y ou. Loop a towel around the top of the injured foot. Slowly pull the towel towards to keeping your body straight. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then relax - repeat 10 times.
Stand facing a wall place your hands on the wall chest high. Move the injured heel back and with the foot flat on the floor. Move the other leg forward and slowly lean toward the wall until you feel a stretch through the calf, hold and repeat.
Stand on a step on the balls for your feet, hold the rail or wall for balance. Slow lower the heel of the injured foot to stretch the arch of your foot.
Sit on the floor with knee bent. Pull the toes back on the injured foot until stretch across the arch is felt. Hold and repeat.
Frozen Can Roll
Roll your bare injured foot back and forth from the tip of the toes to the heel over a frozen juice can. This is a good exercise after activity because not only stretches the plantar fascia but provides cold therapy to the injured area.