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Exercises for healthy feet

Feet are extremely important . We pound them the entire day with our weight and do little to care for them.

It is only when we injure our feet that we  realise  their importance.

Here are a few exercises and streches to keep your feet happy and healthy. If you have injured your foot in any way remember that streching should never hurt. If at any point your foot hurts stop doing that strech.

Streches should be performed when the muscles are warmed up.

Streching is more beneficial if done frequently and Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times

Source : Athletes Treating Athletes. (http://www.athletestreatingathletes.com/stretching-series/stretching-pt-9-the-foot/)

1)

The top of the foot (toe extensors)

The key with this stretch is to break it up into parts. You want the foot itself to be completely relaxed while you use the upper parts of your leg (knee and hip) to move it. Start by curling your toes under your foot like the picture above. From here, bend the foot back over them until a stretch is felt along the top of the foot. You can increase this stretch by pushing the front of the ankle forward (be sure to keep the toes curled under as you do so). Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 4 times.

#2 Bottom of the foot (toe flexors)

This stretch moves in the opposite direction as the first stretch but uses the same principles. Keep the foot itself relaxed! Slide the foot back until you are up on your toes and you feel a pull in the bottom of the foot. You can increase this stretch by squatting down into more of a lunge position as you do so. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 4 times.

#3 Plantar fascia stretch

This stretch is a variation of a standing gastroc stretch. The key here is to keep the foot and ankle as relaxed as you can. The only thing that should be on that step, is the ball of your foot (think toes to the bottom of that “knuckle” under your big toe). From here, simply drop your heel down until a stretch is felt in the bottom of your foot. Hold 20-30 seconds and repeat 4 times. (note: if you are having a hard time with this stretch due to a pinch or tightness in the ankle, you may want to try an ankle mobilization first)

 4)The Seated Foot Stretch
This is the most basic stretch of the calf and plantar fascia .

  • Begin by sitting on the floor, with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Loop a strap around the ball (at the front pad) of the injured foot and slowly pull the strap towards you, keeping your legs straight.
  • Pull until you feel a gentle stretch, then hold the position for approximately 30 seconds.  Breathe gently throughout
  • Relax for thirty seconds and repeat 3-5 times.Seated Foot Stretch with the Stretch Out Strap - .95

5)Plantar Fascia Massage

You can use a normal Belan , the roller that we use to make rotis for this strech.

This exercise involves rolling the arch of the foot over a Chappati Roller while either standing (holding a wall or chair for support) or sitting.  Allow the foot and ankle full movement in all directions while rolling over the Belan.  This massage both stretches the muscles along the sole of the foot and relieves tension.

  • Place the massage ball under the arch of the foot and slowly roll up and down.  Pause and focus on any areas of particular tension.
  • You should roll for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with other foot.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

6)Plantar Fascia Strengthening:

Strengthening the muscles along the sole of the foot will help them become more flexible and more able to withstand the stresses caused by bearing body weight.

Use  a towel  to strengthen the muscles along the sole of the foot without having to put excessive pressure onto the injured fascia.  The toes of the foot are used to pull the lightly sprung lever towards the heel.

This light resistance exercise pinpoints the intrinsic and extrinsic foot musculature of the sole of the foot helping to gradually strengthen the muscles damaged by plantar fasciitis.

Source:http://www.sheboyganfootcare.com/education.html

7) Source:http://www.arborwellness.com/Stretching_for_Runners.pdf

Soleus
Start seated with one leg straight in front of you and the other leg and hip bent to at least
90 degrees (Figure 1). If you cannot reach your foot with your hands, use the rope to
loop around your foot. Contract the front of your shin to flex your ankle up
(dorsiflexion). Use your hands to gently pull the foot into a greater stretch (Figure 2).
You should feel a stretch deep in the calf. Hold the stretch for 2 seconds and repeat 10
times with each leg.

8 ) Soleus-Part 2

Soleus
Start seated with one leg straight in front of you and the other leg and hip bent to at least
90 degrees (Figure 1). If you cannot reach your foot with your hands, use the rope to
loop around your foot. Contract the front of your shin to flex your ankle up
(dorsiflexion). Use your hands to gently pull the foot into a greater stretch (Figure 2).
You should feel a stretch deep in the calf. Hold the stretch for 2 seconds and repeat 10
times with each leg.

9)

Toe Flexors and Plantar Surface of Foot
This may seem like an unimportant stretch, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
The muscles that help with toe flexion also support the arches in your foot. When these
become overly tight, it increases the chance of plantar fasciitis.
Start seated with one leg straight in front of you and the other leg and hip bent to at least
90 degrees so you are able to grasp your toes with your hands. If you cannot reach them
this way, bend your knee and cross your leg. Contract the muscles in your shin to lift
your toes up (toe extension). Starting with just the big toe, use your hands to gently pull
the toe into a greater stretch. You should feel a stretch under the arch of your foot. Hold
the stretch for 2 seconds and repeat 10 times with each toe, then switch feet.

10)

Toe Adductors and Abductors
Start seated with one leg straight in front of you and the other leg and hip bent to at least
90 degrees so you are able to grasp your toes with your hands. If you cannot reach them
this way, bend your knee and cross your leg. Contract the muscles in your foot to spread
your toes apart. Starting with just the first two toes, use your hands to gently pull the toes
apart into a greater stretch. You should feel a stretch in the webbing between the toes.
Hold the stretch for 2 seconds and repeat 10 times with each toe, then switch feet.

11)

Pencil pick-up

  • In a seated position, place a pencil on the floor just in front of you.
  • Pick the pencil up using your toes.
  • Hold it for a few seconds and repeat this 10 times.

Walking on tip toes

  • Rise up on to your tip toes.
  • Walk forwards slowly, always controlling your balance before you take your next step.
  • Start off walking 10-15 steps and gradually increase the distance

12)

Wall push-ups or stretches
for Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon comes from the muscles at the
back of your thigh and your calf muscles. These
exercises need to be performed first with the knee
straight and then with the knee bent in order to
stretch both parts of the Achilles tendon. Twice a
day do the following wall push-ups or stretches:
(a) Face the wall, put both hands on the wall at
shoulder height, and stagger the feet (one foot
in front of the other). The front foot should be
approximately 30 cm (12 inches) from the wall.
With the front knee bent and the back knee
straight, lean into the stretch (i.e. towards the
wall) until a tightening is felt in the calf of the
back leg, and then ease off. Repeat 10 times.
(b) Now repeat this exercise but bring the back
foot forward a little so that the back knee is
slightly bent. Repeat the push-ups 10 times.