Ready to Wear Those Springtime Sandals? Check with Your Feet First!
Springtime means it's sandal weather, and we are all eager to shed those winter boots! But what does that mean for our feet? When we wear boots, our feet and arches receive more support. But when we wear sandals or flip flops, we can put more stress on the foot muscles and arch. This can sometimes lead to foot pain or plantar fasciitis if our feet are not strong enough to manage the transition from boots to sandals. So try these three exercises to get your feet "sandal ready!"
Gastroc Stretch: Making sure our calf muscles (the gastroc) is flexibility is key to preventing stress on our heal. Keeping the gastroc flexible can also prevent Achilles pain and tendonitis. To complete this exercise, stand with one foot back and the other foot forward. Keeping the back knee straight, bend the front knee and lean forward. A stretch should be felt in the back calf area. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the other side.
Foot Cupping: Keeping the muscles of the arch in the foot strong can prevent a flatten of the arch and can protect the bones of the foot. When our foot is in a boot, it is largely support by the thick sole. But when it is placed in a sandal the arch muscles are required to work a little harder. To make sure the arch muscles are strong, perform this exercise. Start in a standing position and gently lift the arch of your foot, keeping the toes and heel down. Then, while holding the arch up, try and balance on that foot. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on each side a few times.
Hip Strengthening: Believe it or not, keeping the hip muscles strong is key to keeping the foot strong. When we have weakness in our hips, we can place more stress on our feet and ankles. This stress can lead to further weight on the arches and cause more stress on the bones. So to keep the hip muscles strong, try this exercise. Start by standing in front of a mirror. Place your hands on your hips and try to balance on one leg. Make sure your shoulders and hips remain level. Then slowly swing your other leg in and out to the side of the body, maintaining your posture. Repeat this motion 20 times and complete on the other side.
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