The importance of stretching
Stretching is a wonderful way to help your feet because it is free, you can do it any time, and it has a low risk of injury. Studies have shown that the combination of stretching and shoe insoles can help improve foot health, especially for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. In fact, it is common for doctors to suggest physical therapy for patients with diabetic neuropathy as well as plantar fasciitis. If you are thinking about using insoles or already use them on a regular basis, you can get more out of the experience by combining your insole use with a daily stretching routine. Below are a couple of foot stretches to try. Of course, if these stretches cause you any pain, stop doing them immediately and check in with your doctor.
1. While seated in a chair, grasp the heel of the foot with one hand while using your other hand to bend the toes upward enough to feel a nice stretch in the bottom of the foot and toes; hold for 10 to 15 calm breaths.
2. Next, bend the toes into the opposite downward position; feeling for a comfortable stretch on the top of the foot. Hold this position for 15 to 20 calm breaths as well.
3. Practice these two positions back and forth.
1. With bare feet or in thin socks, place a tennis ball or lacrosse ball underneath your foot starting at the center. Use a wall or table to brace yourself securely.
2. Slowly roll the ball between the arch, the heel, and the forefoot applying a generous amount of weight onto the ball.
3. Repeat on the other foot.
4. (This stretch can help loosen up your plantar fascia, making it much less likely to become irritated. Put enough pressure on the ball to get a deep massage. You may feel some soreness but keep working that area slowly until it gets better. Back off if you feel any significant pain.)