When your goal is to exercise, it is easy to feel apathetic about warm ups and stretches, but especially now that it is getting colder, it is important to take the time to get your body ready for activity. Your foot is a complex structure, with 26 bones and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your body weight, so it is not surprising that there are many types of injuries that can arise from improper foot and ankle care. Stretching is one important and easy part of maintaining healthy ankles and feet.
Stretching has been known to increase range of motion in the joints by increasing flexibility. Since the joints can reach their full range, the muscles can move more efficiently, especially for exercise that uses elongated muscles in their movements, such as dance or yoga. Stretching is also known to increase blood flow, which is beneficial particularly in the winter when your body tends to be colder.
Here are some tips for stretching:
- When getting into stretches, move slowly and fluidly so your muscles can loosen slowly.
- Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds. But don’t hold your breath, and don’t bounce.
- If you do a stretch on one side, make sure to repeat on the other side too.
- Be aware of your limits. Excessive pain can mean you are pushing too far.
There are some great foot and toe stretching exercises that can help prevent and ease conditions such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and hammertoe. If you notice pain during stretches, or pain that persists after several days without stretching, there may be a foot or ankle injury that needs to be seen by a foot specialist. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico at Syracuse Podiatry, a board certified podiatrist who serves the Syracuse area, can help with all types of conditions. Whether you are dealing with sports injuries, conditions related to diabetes, or need surgery, Dr. D’Amico has the experience and expertise to treat you! Please call (315) 446-3668 to make an appointment at our office in Fayetteville, NY.