Whether you are doing your pre-workout stretches, starting your day off with an invigorating full-body stretch, or finishing out the day with some tension-relieving stretches before rolling into bed, it is important to make sure that you are including your feet and calves in this routine.
Tightness in your calves and legs can affect other areas including your feet and lower back. These muscles are interconnected, meaning that if one is acting up, another may be adversely affected as well. Make sure not to neglect these essential muscles!
The calf muscles (gastrocnemius, plantaris, and soleus) and plantar fascia are very much connected through fascial lines throughout the entire body. There is even a straight line of connection to the fascia of the scalp!
It is vitally important for the total function of your body to maintain decent flexibility of the calves and feet.
Here are a few stretches that you can do to work out any tightness in your feet, ankles, and legs:
STAND ON YOUR TIPTOES
Let’s start off simple. Elevate yourself onto your tiptoes and walk back and forth around your room. This stretch utilizes your body weight to flex the muscles of your toes, feet, ankles, and calves.
Just 30 seconds on your toes will do the trick!
Bear in mind, if you are not used to this 30 seconds could be too much. Start off with 5 seconds and advance as you gain strength and mobility.
2. FOLLOW UP WITH A TOE SPREAD AND CURL
This stretch can be done while sitting or standing.
- Begin with your heel on the ground and the ball of your foot elevated.
- Fan your toes out, feeling the stretch at the base of your toes.
- Next, curl them downward. Think of this like clenching your fist, but with your toes. You can feel this portion of the stretch through both the top of your foot and the sole.
Hold each portion of the stretch for 15 seconds. Once you have finished one foot, repeat on the other.
If you are not used to this stretch, you may find that you develop cramps in the muscles of the foot. If this happens, then 15 seconds is too long and you will need to start out with only 2-3 seconds and advance as tolerated.
3. FINISH WITH A WALL STRETCH
This stretch targets your calf muscles.
- Face a wall and stand about an arm’s length away.
- Extend one foot forward, place your toes and ball of the foot against the wall while your heel stays on the ground.
- Lean forward, using your hands to brace yourself against the wall. You will feel this stretch in your calf from the back of your knee to your Achilles tendon.
Hold this stretch for 10-20 seconds or for as long as you can, and then repeat with the opposite leg.
If your knee is bent you will be focusing the stretch on the gastrocnemius. If you can keep the knee extended and tilt the pelvis, you can focus the stretch on the soleus.
This is advanced and you may wish to engage a fascial expert or physical therapist for this at some point.
With all of these stretches, it is important to listen to your body. If your muscles are tight, these stretches will not feel pleasant during the initial movement. Take this slowly, allowing your muscles to gently stretch and release their built-up tension. If your pain is especially severe, you should contact your personal physician to see if a more serious underlying condition may be the cause.
GIVE YOUR FEET SOME LOVE ON-THE-GO
Taking time to work through these stretches can also act as a time to slow down. Meditate on your day whether you are beginning it or ending it, and give yourself time to breathe as you allow your muscles to loosen.
Breathing is vastly important for the human body, and how we breathe matters. Breathe deeply and engage the diaphragm as this will help to activate the core stabilizers of the trunk and spine as you stretch.
We are also aware that many of us live busy lifestyles, so taking this time may not be as easy to schedule. That’s where The Healing Sole can help.
Our footwear is designed to offload stress from the feet and stretch the muscles of your feet and calves on the go – or while standing at home. We have had thousands of wearers find relief from muscle pain, plantar fasciitis pain, and more. Ready to give The Healing Sole a try for yourself?