Chiropodist - Cambridge
366 Hespeler Road Unit #12
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6

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You’ve probably watched a cat walking or running and marveled at how graceful and fluid their movements can be. Yet they have the power and strength to be effective predators, too. Now think of them getting up from a nap by a sunny window and stretching out their backs, legs, and paws. That could be one reason for their smooth prowess, and maybe we can all take a lesson from them. Foot stretches can make your feet more flexible and strong and help you move with more power and grace. They can also help you avoid injury.

What Stretching for Feet Does

All movement involves the contracting and releasing of your muscles. Repetitive clenching of your muscles over and over, such as when you walk a long distance or run, can make them tight. They can also contract when you sit or lie down for long periods of time. Tight, stiff muscles don’t move very well and are more easily injured when stress is put on them. The same holds true for tendons and ligaments.

Foot stretches elongate these tissues, softening them and making them more limber. Think of that cat with her front paws reaching out to the front and her back pulled into a longer shape. You can almost feel the relaxation of the muscles just watching her. The same thing happens when you perform movements that lengthen the soft tissues in your legs and feet.

When to Stretch

Stretching for feet can be done any time you feel like it, but there are certain times when you certainly should do it. One of those times is first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed. This is particularly effective if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, because those ligaments and tendons will shorten and stiffen up while you are sleeping. Another good time is after you have been sitting for several hours, as in a car trip, watching a movie, or working at your desk.

Most of you have heard of the benefits of stretching before and after exercise, as well. It makes sense to get your muscles, tendons, and ligaments warmed up beforehand, so they are ready for the demands of your sport or activity. Supple, warm tissues are much more able to relax and contract with your movements without causing damage. After your activity, you don’t want them to stiffen up as they cool down, so this is an important time to stretch out, too.

How to Stretch

No matter what movements you do to elongate your muscles and tendons, do them slowly. Using “bouncing” movements can injure tissue instead of helping it. A trick is to count slowly to 5 or 10 as you move into a stretch, hold it for 10-15 seconds, and count again as you move out of it. If you are too impatient to “get through” a set of reps, you defeat the purpose. The goal is to relax—your muscles and your whole body and mind. A session should take at least 5 – 10 minutes.

Never stretch so far that you feel pain. You should feel a gentle pulling at the tissues, but not discomfort. The more you work at this, the farther your tissues will be able to relax; forcing them too far too soon will only injure them.

You can work your calf muscles with wall pushups or a towel stretch, your plantar fascia by laying an ankle across your other knee and gently pulling up the toes with your hand, and other foot muscles by picking up marbles or scrunching up a towel with your toes. We can show you a variety of other foot stretches to relieve pain and stiffness. Foot problems are often caused by tight or imbalanced muscles in your calves and thighs, and there are ways to work all of these sets of muscles as well.

Contact Achilles Custom Orthotics & Footcare for more information by calling 519-624-4122 or requesting an appointment on our website. Chiropodist Douglas Broad provides expert foot care throughout the Cambridge, ON area, including Kitchener, and Waterloo. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, too!

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366 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6

Chiropodist - Cambridge, Douglas C. Broad, D.Ch, 366 Hespeler Road, Cambridge Ontario, N1R 6J6 519-624-4122