Stretching---Is it Really that Important?

In these times of quarantine, inactivity is at an all-time high, we often have used the excuse there is not time to work out. With Texas opening up the state parks and a lot of folks either being out of work or not having that commute time- now is better than ever to start working out.  So is stretching really that important?--the answer is yes! Whether you are an athlete or weekend-warrior type or are just trying to get a little active, stretching is important for you.

Not stretching can lead to stiffness and decrease range of motion. Stretching is important for Joint Health, it maintains good range of motion.

Stretching improves function of the muscle and prevents injury. It’s part of the reason why bar method can improve your basketball game and why ballet can make you a better quarterback.  It has also been established that stretching decreases stress and enhances posture. In turn, improved posture has been proven to decrease pain throughout the body. Decreased pain is important for everyone!

Obviously here at Advanced Foot and Ankle we are most concerned with the Lower extremity: You can start your stretching before you even get out of bed! (Stretching exercises below)  Many deformities of the foot begin with Equinus, or tight calves that limit how much you can bring your toes up toward your nose during walking, so the calf stretches are of particular importance.

Start stretching today!-Make is a habit, so it won’t be a chore.

Your Podiatrist can go over the stretches that are most important for your foot type or conditions and can prescribe you an at home regimen or even send you to a Physical Therapist that sub-specializes in gait training, tissue mobilization and mobilization.

Passive Calf Stretch: Keep a belt on your night stand. Roll your ankles out and around. Sit up in bed with your knees and back straight, put the belt on the bottom of your forefoot and pull your toes back towards you with both hands, hold for 30 seconds or more each foot.

The Runners stretch with the soleus modification: stand upright about 2 feet from a wall, place your hands on the wall and extend one leg backward, bending your front leg until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf, concentrate on keeping your back heel against the ground and your back knee straight, hold this stretch 30 seconds or more. Soleus Modification: bend your back knee.

Plantar fascia stretch: stand with both feet on a step, with one heel resting off the edge and just your forefoot on the step, until your heel is lower than the ball of your foot, hold for 30 seconds or more.

Ham string stretch: stand up and with feet hip distance apart and knees straight bend at the waist until you feel the stretch in the back of your legs, hold for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, this can be done seated on the floor.  

Toe Work out: put a thin hand towel on the floor and attempt to pick it up with a scrunching motion of your toes; do this about 20 times each side- it’s a real workout for your toes. Even if you cant pick it up with your toes- it’s the attempt that is important.

Repeat stretches often but Ideally 2-3x each side 1-2x a day.