As a runner, your feet take a pounding. You know that you need to stretch your leg muscles before you run, and you may even stretch your upper body. But what are you doing for your feet?
There are tiny muscles in your feet that may not be used to pounding the pavement. If you don’t build them up before you run, you can suffer with injuries ranging from metatarsalgia to plantar fasciitis. Here are some ways that you can stretch your feet to get them in top running shape and alleviate some of the pain you may be feeling.
1. Spread Your Toes
It’s not enough to sit back in your chair, kick up your feet and spread your toes a few times. Add some resistance to the exercise. Place a thick rubber band around your toes and then stretch them apart. Once you’ve stretched your toes out, hold the position for five seconds. Repeat this 10 times, switch feet and repeat.
2. Plantar Stretch
If you are experiencing pain in the arch of your foot, this stretch is for you. Sit in a chair, cross your leg so that your ankle sits on the opposite thigh. Bend your toes back toward your shin with your hand and hold in place. Count to five and release. Repeat this 10 times and then switch feet.
3. Calf Drops
Many people perform this stretch without even realizing they are doing important things for their feet. Stand on a stair or step with the balls of your feet. Let your heels hang over the step and rise up onto the balls of your feet. Hold the pose for a five count and lower yourself back down. Repeat 12 times.
4. Heel and Toe Walk
This one can be tough if you don’t have good balance so support yourself by placing a hand on the wall. Stand and flex your toes up so that you are balancing on your heels. Walk forward using only the heels of your feet for up to one minute. Rest and then repeat twice. Next, balance on your toes and walk for a minute. Rest and then repeat twice.
5. Toe Curls
Roll up a towel like a sausage and put in on the floor in front of you. Sit down and grasp the towel with your toes, pulling it toward you and the chair. Push the towel back to where you set it. Repeat this 10 times. Rest and then complete the exercise twice more.
Strengthening your feet will help to alleviate any pain that you are feeling in your heels, arches and toes and will help your runs go more smoothly. Use the exercises above as a way to make your feet strong before you undertake any running program.
If the pain in your feet won’t go away no matter what you do, it’s time to seek the advice of a podiatrist. Dr. Elizabeth Auger is welcoming patients in Salt Lake City who wish to be diagnosed and treated for foot and ankle pain. Call Dr. Auger’s office today to schedule a convenient appointment.