Most Effective Stretches Before a Run

It’s so important to properly warm up before a run to avoid injuries. There are some simple stretches you can do to get your body prepared to go on a run.

Low Lunge: From Downward-Facing Dog position, exhale and step your left foot forward between your hands, aligning the left knee over the heel. Then lower your right knee to the floor and, keeping the left knee fixed in place, slide the right back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the right front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your right foot to the floor and push up onto your right toes if it feels comfortable.

Quad Stretch: Stand up straight and position your feet next to each other. Lift your left foot behind your left glute and wrap your hand around the top of your foot. Pull the top of your foot and press your heel against your glute. Stop when you feel tension in your left quad and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Stretch your right quad the same way. Repeat this stretch six to eight times with each leg.

Ankle Circles: Strong ankles are an important part of a healthy lower body. To perform ankle circles, Lie down flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Lift one leg and stretch it above your body. Rotate the ankle clockwise for 10 seconds, then counter-clockwise for another 10 seconds. Repeat this with the other leg as well. Do 2 sets of 10 seconds on each leg daily for best results.

Always be sure to work up slowly to a run and to do a cool down to avoid running injuries.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Relieve Hip, Knee & Back Pain Through Your Feet

As most of us know, many of our lower body aches and pains can be managed by evaluating our feet. When your feet aren’t happy, your entire lower body can be thrown for a loop. While regular stretching and exercise are obviously important for maintaining a healthy back, hips and knees, there are some great foot exercises you can do to support the rest of your lower body. Regular foot exercises will ensure your feet stay fit and happy, and help to maintain proper blood flow in your feet.

I have compiled a list of simple exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home to help support lower body health:

Toe Presses: This is like a warm up for your feet. It gets the blood pumping and helps to relax the muscles, allowing them to progress into the other exercises. It’s a great way to relieve tension in your feet. Stand flat on your feet with your knees slightly bent. Grip the floor with your toes and hold for 3 seconds and then release. Do 3 sets of 10 reps at a time throughout the day.

Ankle Circles: Strong ankles are an important part of a healthy lower body. To perform ankle circles, Lie down flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Lift one leg and stretch it above your body. Rotate the ankle clockwise for 10 seconds, then counter-clockwise for another 10 seconds. Repeat this with the other leg as well. Do 2 sets of 10 seconds on each leg daily for best results.

flexion

Active Flexion: Flex your foot as high as it will go, hold for a few seconds, then point your toes as far as they will go and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 2 sets of twenty reps on each foot every day to keep ankles mobile. If your ankles are sore or swollen, you can do this gentle stretch with your ankles iced and elevated if necessary.

side-to-side

Side To Side: Flex your foot and begin to rotate your ankle side to side. Begin with rotating your foot so the sole first faces outward, then inward. Another option for this exercise is to move your ankles gently in a circular motion.

wall-stretch

The Wall Stretch: Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Do You Have Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured.

Achilles Tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon, causing inflammation. In some cases even prolonged periods of standing can cause symptoms. It is a common problem often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. Achilles Tendonitis is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training.   Individuals who suffer from achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain after steps are taken after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.

There are several factors that can cause achilles tendonitis. The most common cause is over-pronation. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the achilles tendon.   Other factors that lead to achilles tendonitis are improper shoe selection, inadequate stretching prior to engaging in athletics, a short achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon, and heel bone deformity.

Athletes, particularly runners, should incorporate a thorough stretching program to properly warm-up the muscles. They should decrease the distance of their walk or run, apply ice after the activity and avoid any uphill climbs. Athletes should use an orthotic device, heel cup, or heel cradle for extra support.   A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the achilles tendon. The device should be made with light-weight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic device like Lynco can be used to control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the achilles tendon.

Mens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Men’s orthotics: Here

Womens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Women’s orthotics: Here

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Yoga For Tired/Achy Feet

Many of us spend a lot of our day on our feet. Often in shoes that are not as supportive as they should be. At the end of the day, we find ourselves with tired, achy feet. I came across some great yoga poses that help relieve tired/achy feet and give your lower body a great stretch. These are the perfect way to end the day and give your feet some much needed TLC!

Downward Dog

Downward dog works wonders for stretching out the back of our body. This pose stretches our hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons. Once you are comfortably in the pose, try alternating heel raises and bicycling your feet to get some movement into the pose. Be sure to press down firmly into the foot on the floor to increase the stretch in the back of that leg. If your heels don’t yet touch the ground, place a rolled up blanket or yoga mat under the heels for modification.

Tree Pose

Tree pose is great for improving balance and strengthening feet. For added stretching, try doing this pose on top of a yoga block. Standing on a block in tree pose will destabilize the standing foot and help to build strength in the foot.

Hero’s Pose

With proper alignment, this pose stretches the tops of the feet and ankles, helping to counteract the damage of daily activities such as walking, running, or bicycling. It also encourages strong, properly developed arches in the feet; lengthens the quadriceps; and broadens the sacrum area, which is often congested from long days spent sitting in a chair.

Bound Angle Pose

With your feet placed together and in your view, you’ll really be able to see if you have flat feet or high arches that need to be stretched. You can place a tennis ball between your feet to gently roll back and forth while helping to stretch fascia.

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

 

Simple Ankle Stretches To Do At Home

One of the most common issues that prevent people from participating in regular physical activity is weak, stiff or painful ankles. Luckily, there are some simple stretches you can do at home to help ensure that your ankles remain flexible to avoid injury.

flexion

Active Flexion: Flex your foot as high as it will go, hold for a few seconds, then point your toes as far as they will go and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 2 sets of twenty reps on each foot every day to keep ankles mobile. If your ankles are sore or swollen, you can do this gentle stretch with your ankles iced and elevated if necessary.

side-to-side

Side To Side: Flex your foot and begin to rotate your ankle side to side. Begin with rotating your foot so the sole first faces outward, then inward. Another option for this exercise is to move your ankles gently in a circular motion.

wall-stretch

The Wall Stretch: Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

toe-wall-stretch

Toe To Wall Stretch: To begin this stretch, the heel should be on the ground and the toes on the wall. Place the opposite foot behind you. Keep the legs straight and move the entire body forward. Do not move your upper body forward and stick your backside out. You should feel a very strong stretch in the back of the calf and some stretch in the arch. To increase the stretch, move your heel closer to the wall and increase the angle of your foot. To decrease the stretch, move your heel back and lower your toes. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Are Tight Calves Causing Your Foot Pain?

One of the things I am learning in my journey to my best health possible is that what you think may be causing you symptoms (i.e. foot pain) may stem from a totally different area of the body. Often, when we experience heel and/or foot pain, it is stemming from tightness of our calf muscles, a condition called Gastrocnemius Equinus (GE).

calves

The gastrocnemius muscle is a big calf muscle. Any exercise in which you raise your heels, putting weight on the ball of your foot, makes the muscle bigger and stronger and gives the leg a nicely toned and defined muscle (which is why many women love how their legs look when wearing high heels). The top of the muscle is attached to your femur, and the bottom of the muscle forms part of the Achilles tendon which attaches on the bone at the back of your foot.  The Achilles tendon is composed of two parts: the soleus, which is found only deep and behind the calf muscle and is almost never a problem, and the more superficial and bigger gastrocnemius muscle which is frequently a cause of pain and symptoms.

When you walk the gastrocnemius muscle contracts and lifts your heel off the ground which moves you forward. For many of us, this muscle is short or tight which can lead to problems including flat feet, bunions, metatarsalgia, hammertoes, sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and Achilles tendon inflammation, tendinitis, and even Achilles tendon rupture.

wall-stretch

The most effective way to treat GE is with a regular stretching routine, particularly the wall stretch. Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Quick & Easy Stretches For Heel Pain

There are two different categories of heel pain. The first is caused by over-use repetitive stress which refers to a soreness resulting from too much impact on a specific area of the foot. This condition, often referred to as “heel pain syndrome,” can be caused by shoes with heels that are too low, a thinned out fat pad in the heel area, or from a sudden increase in activity. Plantar fasciitis, a very common diagnosis of heel pain, is usually caused from a biomechancial problem, such as over-pronation (flat feet). The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel through the midfoot and into the forefoot. Over-pronation can cause the plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and inflamed, resulting in pain in the heel and arch areas of the foot. Often the pain will be most intense first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest. The pain will gradually subside as the day progresses.

There are a few quick and easy stretches you can do at home to help prevent and treat heel pain.

staircase-stretch

Stair Case Stretch: Stand on a step with your feet together. The toes and balls of your feet should be on the step but your heels should overhang the step. Be sure you are supporting yourself with one hand on a railing or wall. Slowly lift up and down on your toes ten times. Repeat three sets of ten lifts. This exercise helps to strengthen your feet and heels, preventing and healing Plantar Fasciitis.

wall-stretch

The Wall Stretch: Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

toe-wall-stretch

Toe To Wall Stretch: To begin this stretch, the heel should be on the ground and the toes on the wall. Place the opposite foot behind you. Keep the legs straight and move the entire body forward. Do not move your upper body forward and stick your backside out. You should feel a very strong stretch in the back of the calf and some stretch in the arch. To increase the stretch, move your heel closer to the wall and increase the angle of your foot. To decrease the stretch, move your heel back and lower your toes. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.

To properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces. When the condition is pronation related (usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Footwear selection is also an important criteria when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good arch support, and appropriate heel height are the ideal choice.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Loosen Tight Hamstrings By Rolling Your Feet

I know, it sounds kind of weird but I promise it works! You can actually loosen your tight hamstrings by rolling your feet on a tennis ball. All of the muscles in our bodies are connected. The tissue in our feet is often very tight from overuse, and that tightness travels upward into our legs. If you commit to doing this exercise daily, you should see a change in your flexibility within a week.

Before you begin rolling, I recommend testing your flexibility with a forward bend. This will give you a good bench mark to measure against to see if the rolling is helping. Come into a standing forward bend with your feet hip distance apart. Press down into your feet, lift your front thighs and straighten your legs. Roll your front upper thighs in, and widen across your hamstrings.
You can use yoga bricks for extra support if your hands aren’t able to reach the floor. Make a note of how much height you need to place your palms flat, then roll up to standing position.

Now, stand close to a wall on a yoga mat or carpet, with one hand against the wall for added balance. Place a tennis ball under one foot and start to roll the sole of your foot over the tennis ball. Play around with the amount of pressure you are using. It should be intense, but pleasant. If it is painful in any way, you are applying too much pressure.

Bend your toes over the tennis ball and massage the backs of your toes. Then work your way down the sole of your foot, all the way back to your heel. Roll along the inner and outer arches. Keep rolling for at least two minutes on each foot. Once you’ve rolled both feet, try doing another forward bend and see if your flexibility has improved at all.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.