As COVID-19 has swept across the country, accompanied by a wave of stay-at-home orders and social-distancing measures, it may feel as if the world has stopped in its tracks. However, people are still in need of healthcare services to address ongoing problems, which, for many Americans, includes foot pain. While coronavirus has affected the way many people approach healthcare, we know that foot pain doesn’t just “go away.” Without treatment or pain relief measures, foot pain can be debilitating. To assist with your pain during this challenging time, we’ve put together five exercises and foot stretches to relieve and prevent foot pain. These exercises should be incorporated into your daily routine to help you stay active and comfortable and to help you avoid the need to visit the doctor during this unprecedented time.
Notice: if these exercises and stretches aren’t helping your pain or discomfort, call Arizona Foot Doctors immediately at (480) 661-7572. We offer telehealth appointments, and, in severe cases, in-office appointments. Foot pain should not be ignored! Explore our foot pain treatment options.
1 – Seated toe stretches
Stretching your toes regularly is an easy way to combat pain that occurs from wearing closed-toe shoes. The below stretches also prevent foot pain by increasing mobility throughout the foot. For these stretches, sit in a chair with your feet on the ground. Use a combination of the following exercises, making sure to hold each position for five seconds.
- Raise the heels and extend the toes upwards
- Curl toes inward from raised heel position
- Lift feet onto the tips of the toes, leaving only the big and second toe on the floor
- Stretch the big toe by resting your foot on your thigh and pulling your big toe up, down, and to each side
- Spread all the toes of the feet apart
- Place your foot on your thigh and pull all toes up toward your ankles
2 – Towel or marble pick-up
Using your toes to pick up items from the floor can help you build strength in your feet and toes, making them less likely to become injured when performing other activities. Strengthen your flexor muscles by sitting in a chair and laying a small towel on the floor right in front of your feet. Place one foot on the edge, and attempt to grab the towel with the toes and pull it towards your body. Build muscle in the toes and bottom of the foot by placing marbles, or other small, round items in front of you while seated and using your toes to pick them up and drop them into a bowl on the ground.
3 – Achilles tendon stretch
The Achilles tendon that extends from your heel to your calf muscles is susceptible to strain, especially when wearing poor-fitting footwear or starting a new intense activity. Stretching this tendon before running, exercising the calves, or playing sports can help children and adults avoid injuries or tendinitis in the area. For this exercise, find a wall to support yourself with your arms outstretched. Place one leg in front of the other with both heels planted on the floor. Keep the back leg straight while bend forward on the front leg until you feel the pull near your calf. Hold for at least 30 seconds on each leg. We recommend doing the Achilles tendon stretch daily, but also before exercising to prevent foot pain.
4 – Resistance band stretch
While a resistant band works best for this stretch, you can use a towel as well. Sit on the ground with your feet in front of you. Loop the band or towel around the balls of your feet and use both hands to hold each end. Keeping your knees straight, pull the band toward yourself and hold for at least 30 seconds. Like our Achilles tendon stretch, we recommend doing this daily, but also before you start exercising.
5- Foot rolling
For our last stretch, use a round object, such as a tennis ball or frozen water bottle, to massage and address pain in the arches of the foot. You can sit or stand during this stretch. Put the ball on the ground and roll it around the bottom of your foot. Foot rolling is a painless and straightforward activity. If possible, roll your foot for 2-3 minutes whenever you stand or sit.
Keep active to prevent foot pain
Implementing these foot stretches and exercises will help you stay active and help strengthen your foot, toes, and ankle during this unprecedented time. If your foot pain persists or gets more severe, always listen to your body and immediately stop activities causing pain. Call us at (480) 661-7572 to make a telehealth or in-office appointment. Our team of podiatrists have over 35 years of experience helping families in the Scottsdale area get back on their feet. We use a variety of gentle, effective methods to prevent and address foot pain for children and adults of all ages.