Stretching exercises are some of the most beneficial things you can do for your body. They not only build strength but also help condition your muscles so you can use them to their full potential. They help you exercise safely, and they can also help you heal from several types of foot and ankle conditions.
Foot and Ankle Conditioning
One of the most important things stretching exercises can do for you is to help condition your muscles. This keeps you safe in a number of ways, and can also help you heal after you suffer an injury. If you are physically active (and even if you aren’t) it’s a good idea to do these stretches daily to help keep your strength at the maximum.
Before stretching you should always do a short warm-up so that your muscles are not cold. You could end up hurting yourself if you don’t warm up first. Some good stretches might include the heel cord stretch which works out the heel and the calf. Stand against a wall with one foot back and lean in toward the wall, keeping the leg straight. You can do this stretch with a bent knee as well, which stretches other parts of the leg.
A good move for the bottom of the foot where the plantar fascia is located is a golf ball roll. It’s basically a way to massage your foot and stretch out the plantar fascia, so it’s less likely to become inflamed. Another way to keep your ankles limber is by holding up your feet and tracing the letters of the alphabet with your toes.
Stretching After a Sprain
When you suffer a sprain in your ankle, your range of motion is often affected. To get your feet and ankles back to what they were before your injury, do stretching exercises. Wait until much of the swelling has gone down to begin this regimen. One exercise to try is raising your foot and ankle while in a seated position and holding it there for as long as you can.
You can also stretch your ankle inward and outward, but only if the pain isn’t too bad. While in a seated position point your toes forward and then point them up to the ceiling. When your pain has mostly gone away, you can try stair raises by standing on a step and stretching your heels down slightly towards the floor.
Stretches for Sore Muscles
Another wonderful benefit of stretching your muscles is to help relieve soreness after exercising. Do these daily and you should be able to avoid a lot of pain and discomfort. Ankle circles can help keep your feet limber. Rotate them while in a seated or lying down position, and then rotate them the opposite direction. You should also do calf raises by lifting up on to your toes. Resistance bands can also be used to stretch various muscles in the feet and ankles to help with soreness.
Where to Learn More
To learn more about stretching exercises you can do for your feet and ankles, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to make an appointment in our North Andover office.