Do you wear high heels? If so, the stretches below are mandatory on a daily basis. Your feet and body will thank you later.
- Instrinsic Muscles Stretch
Prevents: Hammer toes, bunions, neuromas, and stress fractures.
Slip the fingers of your opposite hand in between your toes, as if you were to “shake hands” with your foot. Use fingers 2-5 to do this and leave your thumb out. By just holding your toes in this position, you will be stretching the muscles in between the long bones (metatarsals) of your foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then pull the toes down so you stretch the top of the toes and foot. Hold the toes in this position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Foot/Ankle Extensors Stretch
Prevents: Shin splints and stress fractures of the feet and shin bones.
Kneel down on both knees. Place a rolled up hand towel on the floor under your feet. Position the towel just under where your toes meet the top of your foot. Gently sit your hips back onto your heels until you feel a pull across the top of your feet and ankles. You may also feel the stretch up along the front of your shins. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat twice.
- Peroneals Stretch
Prevents: Poor foot and lower leg alignment, foot and ankle joint dysfunctions.
Lie on your back and place a strap (that does not stretch) around the ball of your foot. Lift your leg up while keeping the other leg down and extended along the floor. Pull your toes back towards you and then turn your foot inward. Hold the strap with the opposite hand of the leg you are stretching. Try to bring your leg up and over, as if your foot is pointing up toward your opposite shoulder. In this position you should feel a stretch along the outside of your shin (your peroneal muscles). Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat twice on both sides.
- Calf Stretch
Prevents: Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, calf strains, or tears.
Stand in a lunge position with your hands against the wall, the front leg bent and the back leg fully extended. Position your back leg with a slight toeing-in posture. Make sure your heel stays connected to the ground. It should feel like you’re reaching your heel into the ground while maintaining your hips square to the wall with your back knee straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Bring your back foot closer to the wall, so as to make your lunge slightly smaller, and bend your back knee while keeping your toes pointing slightly inward and your heel connected to the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- FHL Stretch
Prevents: Tendonitis or big toe problems.
Position your big toe up against a door frame or small ledge of the wall and slide it down so that the big toe is pointing upwards and the ball of the foot is trying to touch the floor. The other toes should be free and stretched out flat along the floor. Bend your knee and keep your heel on the ground. Make sure that as much of your big toe as possible is making contact with the wall (not just the very tip of it).