Free Foot Exercise video! How to Strengthen and Stretch Your Feet
6 Stretches To Relieve Your Morning Foot Pain
If you hop out of bed with a spring in your step, good for you. But too many of us gingerly ease out of bed, wincing or hobbling through the first steps of the day. "Because you're not actively moving while you sleep, the soft tissue and joints in your feet can tighten overnight," explains Isaac Tabari, DPM, a podiatrist and founding director of NYC Podiatry Center of Excellence in New York City.
That can lead to morning foot pain for people with conditions like plantar fasciitis—inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that runs down the bottom of your foot—or Achilles tendonitis, which is pain in the tendon that connects the lower calf muscle to your heel. Rheumatoid arthritis can also be a culprit, because it can cause foot and ankle joints to stiffen, adds Tabari. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get FREE fitness tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)
What can you do to ease the throb? The following moves can help you start your day on the right foot.
Before You Get Out of Bed
These gentle stretches can loosen up tight muscles and improve blood flow. You can also take an anti-inflammatory to relieve the pain, says Tabari.
1. Towel stretch
Sit up in bed, legs stretched in front. Loop rolled-up towel (or exercise band if you have one handy) beneath ball of right foot. Keeping leg straight, gently pull towel toward you and hold 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then switch sides.
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2. Sitting stretch
Cross left leg over right knee. Grasp base of toes on left foot and stretch toward your shin. Hold 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then switch sides.
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Stretch and Strengthen
Do these simple moves daily to help ward off those morning aches.
3. Heel stretch
Stand arm's length away from wall; place hands flat at eye-level. Step left foot back and push against wall, bending right knee while keeping left heel on floor; don't bounce. You should feel a stretch in the muscles in the back of your left leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds (or about 4 to 5 breaths). Repeat 3 to 5 times, then switch sides.
4. Kneeling stretch
Kneel on mat with toes tucked beneath you. Gently sit back on heels, stretching bottoms of feet. Hold 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
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5. Heel raises
Stand on edge of step and hold onto railing for support. Stretch left heel down at least 30 seconds. Press up with same foot 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times and then switch sides.
6. Ice roll
While seated in chair, place frozen water bottle beneath arch of one foot. Gently roll back and forth 5 minutes. Switch sides.
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