Foot pain gets in the way of your ability to do your daily activities, and it should not be ignored. If foot pain is not relieved when it is not bearing weight such as when trying to sleep or seated with the foot propped up, then seeing a physician is recommended. Further testing, X-ray or MRI images may be warranted to rule out serious conditions. If the pain varies with activity and is alleviated with rest, ice, and stretching but then persists beyond two weeks, then it is advised to visit a physical therapist (PT). A PT can properly evaluate the foot and provide manual therapy such as massage to restore mobility to the joints in the foot. They can also recommend complementary exercises to ensure that the foot not only properly heals but that the pain does not return.
The following stretches are beneficial for relieving foot pain and can be performed throughout the day. Performing them first thing in the morning can help to start the day off on the right foot (pun intended!). However, waiting until after a hot shower or performing them after you have gone for walk when the muscles are warm and pliable is most beneficial.
Wall Calf Stretch
Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Bring one leg forward, bent, and keep the back leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds, then bend the back leg and hold for another 30 seconds.
Repeat this 3 times on both legs.
Hold your big toe with a towel or your fingers, and gently pull back towards your chest.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on both feet, 3x.
Moving the foot at the ankle with the leg straight (not moving the knee or the entire leg), write the alphabet with your toes. Repeat on both legs.
Scrunch toes together and hold for 3 seconds, then separate them as far as you can. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
With daily care you can help decrease the stiffness, swelling, and pain in your feet and ankles. Stretching is both a preventative and treatment measure to be taken. If your pain does not change in intensity or decrease in frequency after a few weeks be sure to check in with your medical provider.
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