Your feet do a lot of work for you. Don’t forget to take care of them, and it starts with stretching. Do you ever think about how hard your feet work? According to HealthyAging.Org, people, on average, spend four hours a day standing on their feet and take about 5,000 steps each day. Is it any wonder one in three people over the age of 65 experience foot pain, and 87 percent of people of all ages report sore feet at some point in their lives?
Foot pain greatly diminishes your ability to perform routine tasks, like walking or even getting out of a chair. Aching feet can also affect your balance, increasing the risk of a serious fall. But you can keep your feet pain-free and strong with simple stretching exercises.
What’s Causing that Pain in Your Feet?The cause of most foot pain can be traced to footwear. If you’ve ever worn tight-fitting shoes that pinch your toes, you’ve probably experienced foot pain by the end of the day. When choosing footwear, find a pair that cushions and supports your arches and provides good traction. You can also ask your podiatrist about inserts for extra support.
A common foot disorder is plantar fasciitis, or an inflammation of your plantar fascia. A ligament made of connective tissue, the plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot. Like many ligament and tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury. Regular runners are prone to plantar fasciitis, because the ligament becomes inflamed from repeated pounding on hard surfaces. It’s characterized by a sharp pain in your heel, with the pain most pronounced when you take your first step of the day. Running can also cause stress fractures, or tiny breaks in the bones of the foot.
Other tendons in your foot can be overworked and cause tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon that connects your calf muscles to your heel tightens and becomes painful. Another form of foot tendonitis is sesamoiditis, or an irritation of the tendons linking the two small sesamoid bones at the bottom of your foot near the big toe. Swelling and pain at the bottom of the foot are frequent symptoms of sesamoiditis.
Although these injuries are most common among athletes, everyday people of all ages can overwork their foot muscles and tendons and experience pain.
Stretches for Your FeetYour feet may appear small in relation to the rest of your body, but they have a complex anatomy. Your feet consist of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 120 muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. You already know how important it is to stretch or warm up your arm and leg muscles before you exercise. The same holds true for your feet.
Tight muscles are more vulnerable to injury, but stretching boosts flexibility and lessens the chance of an injury. Stretching also pumps blood to the muscles and keeps them limber. Flexible feet improve posture and balance, so you’re less likely to tumble. Here are three stretching exercises designed specifically for your feet:
Marble Pickup. This exercise will strengthen the muscles underneath your feet and toes. Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Place two bowls in front of you, one with marbles and the other one empty. With the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty bowl. Repeat with the other foot.
Achilles Stretch. Stand facing a wall with your palms against the wall. Move one foot back, keeping your knee straight. Bend the knee of the opposite leg, keeping both heels flat on the floor. Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the calf and Achilles tendon. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do three stretches on each side.
Foot Roll. A foot roll can ease the pain of plantar fasciitis or arch pain. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place a ball or frozen bottle of water under one foot. For two minutes, press down on the ball or bottle and massage the bottom of your foot.
Tired of Aching Feet?Don’t let aching feet make your life unbearable. The doctors at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group provide the latest treatment techniques for sore feet and other foot and ankle conditions. Contact us today for an appointment.
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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.