Your feet do a lot for you, everyday. So it’s important to take care of them when you can.
After exercise or even a long day on your feet, you’ll want to incorporate some foot care into your post-activity recovery routine.
Why Your Feet Are Susceptible To Injury
We don’t often think about our feet after a workout. Common stretches for post-workout routines involve stretches for larger muscles like your quads, hamstrings, calves, back and biceps. And while it’s great to think about these muscles as well, this often leaves foot care neglected.
Your feet and ankles are complex systems made of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and bones that absorb the shock of every step you take. These steps can occur in exercise, or as part of your everyday routine.
When one element of the foot becomes dysfunctional, you may find yourself compensating in other ways to reduce pain or pressure to that area. This can lead to further potential damage or pain down the road, making post-workout foot care necessary.
Common Foot Injuries
So what can happen if you don’t prioritize foot care after an activity?
Some common foot concerns are:
- Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is the result of a degenerated or dysfunction area of the plantar fascia (a band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel). This can cause your plantar fascia to contract and pull at the heel, making walking or daily activities difficult.
- Stress fractures: Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that can occur after repeated impact. These are highly correlated to low vitamin D3 levels.
- Sprained ankle: Sprained ankles often occur during exercise, but when left untreated can cause mobility issues down the road. A sprained ankle is the result of straining the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together.
- Achilles tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis is chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is also due to deposition of advanced glycation end products into the tendon itself. This can occur as a result of poor diet, lack of sleep and generalized low-grade inflammation.
- Heel spurs: Heel spurs are an extra growth of bone on top of existing bone. They can irritate the Achilles tendon at the point where it meets the heel, growing over time. However, many people can become pain-free even with a spur.
- Bursitis: Bursitis describes inflammation and irritation to bursae, fluid-filled sacs that protect the joints. Bursitis can occur at any joint throughout the body, but commonly occurs at the heel. This can be the result of overuse or sudden increase in activity levels. Autoimmune disorders like gout can also cause this to occur.
What Foot Care Looks Like
If you’ve been active, we’d recommend checking in with your feet at the end of the day, or after a workout.
One of the easiest ways to help your feet recover is through stretching and strengthening them. There are several stretches and exercises you can do for your feet.
If your plantar fascia feels tight at the end of the day or in the morning, you can massage it with a tennis ball. This can help loosen the tension around the heel and relieve some pain from that region.
Another method of recovery is listening to your body and recognizing when you should take it easy. Some of the conditions listed above are the result of overuse, repetitive motion, or sudden increase in activity. If you’re worried about overuse or repetitive motion, you could try mixing up your exercise routine.
If you’re a daily speed walker, but you notice your feet are feeling worn, incorporating yoga or swimming can give your feet the break they need. Actually, what is happening is that you are strengthening the many muscles and interconnections of the foot and this helps to modulate any painful feelings.
Swapping out your shoes is another important aspect to foot care. If you’re wearing worn shoes that lack proper support, you’ll likely start to feel the impact it has on your feet. It is important to change your footwear during the day to ensure use of all the foot and leg muscles as well.
It’s typically recommended to purchase new exercise shoes after about three to six months of wear. But of course, this can vary from person to person and how often the shoes are worn.
One method for active recovery is with the Healing Sole. The Healing Sole was designed by Dr. Warner to help stretch, strengthen, and relieve pain. With features like a rocker bottom sole, metatarsal bar, arch support and heel support - you can reduce pain from plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions in the comfort of your home.