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Try these 4 preventive exercises to ward off foot pain

1. Stretch your plantar fascia

The plantar fascia (which extends from your heel bone to the metatarsal bones) is a thick connective tissue that offers arch support on the bottom of your foot. Repetitive strain on the plantar fascia — caused by everything from excessive pronation to high arches or flat feet — can cause it to weaken, swell, and become irritated. A common source of foot pain, plantar fascia pain typically gets worse in the course of the day and can be particularly unpleasant when you are standing or climbing stairs.

A simple stretch can help strengthen your plantar fascia and offer pain relief. In a kneeling position, sit back on your heels, keeping your weight over the balls of your feet, your back straight, and your core engaged. Lean backwards and hold for 30 seconds. Release, then repeat two more times.

2. Increase ankle and foot range of motion

Many people have “tight ankles.” Others suffer from walking- or running-related soreness surrounding the ankle joints and muscles. The right exercises can help minimize ankle soreness while improving flexibility and strength.

Begin in the seiza (“proper sitting” in Japanese), kneeling on the floor with your legs folded under your thighs, your bottom resting on your heels, and your ankles turned out so that the tops of your feet are flat on the floor in a slight “V” shape. Place your hands on your thighs and sit back on your heels, paying careful attention to your core engagement. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and repeat two more times.

3. Relieve arch tension

Because the arches play such an important role in the body’s ability to absorb shock, it’s not surprising that many factors can lead to arch pain. These include everything from ligament sprains and muscle strains to direct force trauma, poor biomechanical alignment, and inflammatory arthritis.

One technique known to help relieve arch tension while mobilizing joints and increasing range of motion is the arch cross stretch. Place a tennis ball under the pad of your foot just below your little toe. Slowly roll the ball along the width of your foot between your little toe and your big toe for five minutes. Repeat with the other foot.

4. Loosen up your calf muscles

Also known as the gastrocnemius muscle, your calf muscle is an important part of all lower body movement, but can lead to foot pain when it’s stiff or tight.

To loosen things up, stand on a step holding onto the banister or wall for support, lean forward, and lower one heel to the ground while keeping your leg straight. Repeat with toes pointing inward and outward and holding for intervals of up to a minute.

These exercises can help you reduce foot pain and enjoy better foot health. If you are still experiencing pain or are looking for expert guidance in how to prevent foot pain, request an appointment with Kansas City Foot Specialists, P.A. today.