Posts for category: Foot Health
The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine, or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injuries, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.
When Should I Stretch?
It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.
Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.
Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretch, visit your podiatrist first to ensure it will be safe for your particular foot pain.
What Kind of Stretches Should I Do?
Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:
Stretch for Calf Muscles: Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.
Stretch for Hamstring: Put your foot with knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.
Stretch for Plantar Fascia: This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.
Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. Whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon, or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.
With our feet bearing the weight of our entire body, it’s no surprise that carrying excess weight may increase the chance of developing foot problems. In fact, recent studies have shown that overweight people experience more heel pain, tendonitis, arthritis, ball-of-foot pain, fractures and sprains in their feet and ankles than individuals at a normal, healthy weight.
Extra weight doesn’t have to be substantial to have an impact on your feet and ankles. As little as 10 or 20 pounds can trigger pain in the lower extremities. Being overweight changes the way your foot functions, and the force on the feet intensifies.
The most common foot problems from being overweight include:
Plantar Fasciitis: Excess weight adds strain to the plantar fascia, overusing and weakening it. This causes it to become inflamed and irritated. Heel pain is one of the most common problems caused by weight gain.
Tendonitis: When the feet endure extra weight, it eventually causes the tendons/ligaments to be overused, which leads to injury and inflammation.
Fallen Arches: An increase in body weight and pressure causes the supporting structures in your feet (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) to become stretched and weakened, breaking down over time. This can weaken the muscle which gives the foot its arch, causing over-pronation and leading to other problems such as knee and hip pain.
Other effects from carrying extra weight include changes in posture, changes in gait (steps become shorter), and stress fractures.
Losing extra pounds can help ease the pain and reduce problems caused by carrying excess body weight. Unfortunately, it's tough to lose weight when your feet hurt. To combat foot problems triggered by weight gain, ease into a low-impact activity that doesn’t require you to place pressure on your foot, such as water aerobics. Always start any new workout routine slowly. Work with your physician to find healthy ways to modify your diet, and your podiatrist to select the best, most supportive footwear for your feet.
Foot pain is never normal, regardless of weight, as it indicates some type of stress or injury. You should always consult an experienced podiatrist if you are experiencing any pain in your foot.