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Stretches for the Feet and Ankles

The next time you watch an exercise DVD, pay special attention to the time spent on stretching the feet and ankles.  It’s likely that your favorite exercise guru completely ignores these areas of the body.  This seems counterintuitive when you consider that your feet are bearing up to four times or more the body’s weight when you do jumping jacks.  While the research varies on the benefits of stretching, one of the primary goals of this activity is injury prevention.

Note that the calves are also an important piece to the stretching puzzle and good foot health.  These muscles are connected to the feet by the Achilles tendon, and they play a role in conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Stretching not only aids in the prevention of injury, but it also helps during recovery.  Whether you’ve experienced an ankle fracture or foot surgery, home exercises or physical therapy are often a part of the after-care plan.  Restoring strength and flexibility to the affected area is the primary goal.  Focused stretching also brings the body’s natural healing process to the area through increased blood flow.

What do I need to know about stretching?

Many people see stretching as the beginning of their workout routine, but it should really be phase two.  First, take a quick walk, or even jog in place to get your body warmed up prior to completing your regimen of stretches.  Remember that stretching should not cause pain.  If you experience discomfort, you should pull back to a more comfortable point.

This process could take up a large period of time if every muscle of the body was addressed.  Instead, break the body down into areas of focus, and spend more time on the muscles that you will use during your regular workout.  To prevent tearing, keep the targeted muscle still during the stretch.  It’s always best to speak with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise plan.

What are some common stretches for the feet, ankles, and calf muscles?

Drs. Brook and Northcutt prescribe stretching exercises for various conditions after an evaluation.  However, there are some general stretching exercises that can benefit anyone.

Stretch the toes–While sitting, place your feet flat on the floor and move your toes apart.  Hold and repeat.  Next, grab a towel and lay it on the floor.  Use your toes to gather it up, and then lift it.  Finally, loop the towel around your toes and gently pull toward your body.

Work out arch pain—Spend ten to fifteen seconds walking on your toes and complete eight reps.  Using a golf ball or tennis ball, give yourself a foot massage by rolling the item back and forth underneath your foot. For additional benefits, try a frozen water bottle.

Don’t avoid the ankles—Sit in your favorite chair and flex your feet slowly.  After ten reps, point the toes and hold.  Do this ten times as well.  You can also stretch the ankles by going downward and inward and holding that position.  Now, try going upward and outward.

Focus on the forgettable calves—The calves are often forgotten, but they are an important part of the overall health of your feet.  Use a step for one of the most popular stretching exercises.  Stand with your heels over the edge, and let the heels drop.  Now, stand in front of a chair back with your feet apart.  Rise up on one foot and lift the heel as far as possible. Lower and repeat ten times.

Foot and ankle pain can be a thing of the past with the right care.  Foot and ankle stretching is just one way that you can strengthen your foundation and help in the prevention of injury.  Drs. Joel Brook and David Northcutt are ready to serve you in our Dallas and Plano, TX offices. Call or schedule an appointment online.

RATED BEST DALLAS PODIATRIST FOR YOUR FOOT & ANKLE CARE NEEDS
"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, foot and ankle sports injuries, stem cell therapy, bunion treatment, toenail restoration, toenail fungus treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, boutique foot services, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
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