Are you waking with aches and pains in your feet? Inside of the foot there are several muscles and tendons that help stabilize the ankle joint and other bones within the foot. These muscles can ache as they fatigue throughout the day, and they can get relief with stretching and strengthening exercises.
Gastrocnemius stretch: Lean forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. To stretch the calf muscles and the heel cord, push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion. You should feel this in your calf muscle. Perform 3 sets of 30 second holds. Don’t forget to breathe!
Soleus stretch: Use a wall or a chair for support. Slightly bend both knees and lean forward. Hold for 30 seconds Switch sides and repeat. Repeat three times.
Plantar fascia stretch: Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other knee, so your ankle is on top of your other knee. With one hand holding your ankle and the other holding your toes, gently pull your toes backward until you feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and do three times.
Toe spreads: For arch pain, stand with your feet under your shoulders and lift your toes off of the floor. Spread them as much as you can and hold it for a few seconds or until they start to feel tired. Then, spread them on the ground and press the base of your big toe into the floor, keeping the rest of your foot on the ground. Repeat 15 times, and do three sets. This is great to do after walking or exercising!
Standing heel raises: Using a handrail for support, stand with the balls of your feet at the edge of a bottom step. With your heels hanging off the edge, slowly and gently lower your heels just below the edge of the step. You may feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet. Repeat 15 times, and do three sets.
Doing these simple stretches and strengthening exercises can keep the muscles in your feet in tip-top shape, and keep you from waking with aches and pains in your feet!