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Stretching exercises to reduce pressure to your feet

By Michael Lukowsky, C. Ped., OST

Stretching the calf muscles reduces areas of concentrated forces to your feet. Studies have shown that you can reduce pressure (pounds per square inch) not only at heel strike but also to the balls of the feet by as much as 50% by simply stretching your calf muscles. Stretching also increases the circulation to your feet. Stretching is especially for those with pain in the ball of the foot and heel pain. Stretching is also very beneficial for those who have diabetes because it reduces pressure on the ball of the foot and big toe, the most common places that ulcers occur. Also, stretching increases blood flow to the feet, which can help relieve symptoms caused from neuropathy. When your feet hurt, stretch twice a day and you will be amazed how much better your feet will feel!

A. Calf (Gastrocnemius Muscle) Stretch

Lean against a wall for support and to assist with stretching. Bend one knee and bring is toward the wall, while keeping the back leg straight. During stretching, make sure both heels remain in contact with the ground. Keep the toes of the stretched back foot pointed toward the wall and maintain your body in a straight line (buttocks do not move or sag in toward the wall). DO NOT BOUNCE. Hold position 10 seconds, do 7 to 10 repetitions

B.Soleus and Posterior Tibialis Muscle stretch

Lean against a wall for support and to assist with stretching. Position yourself as above: however, this time gradually bend both knees toward the wall until you feel a mild pull in the back of your legs.

DO NOT BOUNCE and remember to keep your heels in contact with the ground and keep the toes pointing forward.

Hold position for 10 seconds and repeat 7 to 10 times

C. Prolonged Calf (Gastrocnemius) Stretching

Place you foot as shown and stand on an incline board. Hold onto a rail or wall for support. Maintain both legs with your knees straight and keep you heels on the bottom. You can keep your heels on the ground. The more you put the balls of your feet up on the board, the more you will feel the calves stretch. You can substitute the incline board by standing with the ball of your foot on a stair and lower your heels gradually until you feel a mild pull in the back of your calves. Begin by holding this position for 1 minute and gradually increase to 5 minutes

Do not bounce and keep the body in a straight line.

D. Soleus and Posterior Tibialialis Muscle stretch

Position yourself as in above stretch: however, this time both knees should be slightly bent.

Begin by holding for 1 minute and gradually increase to 5 minutes.

DO NOT BOUNCE and keep your buttocks to your head in a straight line. All the stretching exercises should be done in manner that you should feel a MILD pull in your calf muscles but NO pain. Consult with your physician to see if stretching may have any adverse effects.

The incline boards are available at Office Max and they call them foot rests.

Incline board or foot rest below.

Sole Control’s pedorthists in St. Louis can help you with your foot issues.

9712 Watson Rd

St. Louis, MO 63126


Webmaster Michael Lukowsky