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While we all know that stretching before exercise helps warm up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, many people neglect adding a foot and ankle stretching program to their overall routine. Since your feet and ankles provide the foundation, support, and balance needed to perform your exercise and athletic activities, adding foot and ankle stretches to your regimen is essential for optimal foot health and easy to accomplish.
Houston Podiatrist Dr. Sherman Nagler provides some easy and simple stretching exercises to help your feet and ankles include the following:
- Calf stretching exercises—Since the calf muscle connects to the feet through the Achilles tendon, stretching this muscle also stretches your feet. One excellent stretch you can try is standing on the edge of a step and lowering and raising your heel. Hold in between raises for a good stretch. Another great one is the towel pull: while sitting with your legs outstretched, wrap a towel around your toes. Pull back on the ends of the towel with your arms to feel a stretch, and hold for 30 seconds.
- Toe stretches—From a seated position, stretch your toes apart and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times. You can try wrapping a rubber band around your toes to increase the effectiveness of this exercise.
- Arch stretches—While sitting, cross one leg over the other at the knee. Pull your toes backward and feel the stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold for 15 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.
Performing regular stretching exercises and wearing properly fitted shoes with appropriate orthotic inserts can treat and prevent a variety of foot and ankle problems. Call Houston’s Foot Doc Today 713.529.1010