Whether you're an athlete who is dealing with a repetitive strain injury, or you're someone who has stepped awkwardly and injured yourself, having pain in your foot or ankle can dramatically limit your mobility. You can take steps toward reducing your pain by scheduling a visit with a podiatrist. This health expert can perform a variety of foot- and ankle-related services, including determining the reason for your discomfort and providing exercises that can alleviate it. If you have to wait a few days until your appointment and want to reduce your pain without the use of drugs, make these three stretches part of your daily routine.
Seated Ankle Stretch
Sit on your bed or the couch and position your lower body so that your sore ankle and foot are hanging off the edge and your toes are pointed at the ceiling. Gently move your foot so as to point your toes toward your torso; in doing so, you'll feel a firm stretch in the calf muscle. When you reach the point at which the stretch is strong, hold the pose for a count of 10 and then return to the neutral position. You can repeat this exercise for 10 reps, twice per day, as an effective way to stretch your ankle.
Tennis Ball Stretch
Using a tennis ball to stretch the muscles in the arch of your sore foot can not only reduce your pain, but can also feel pleasurable. Place a tennis ball on the floor and sit above it on a chair. Position your sore foot so its arch is directly on the tennis ball, and then move your foot around while applying firm pressure. Use your foot to move the ball from the base of your toes to the far side of your arch and continue this pattern for up to three minutes.
While calf raises are also used to strengthen your calf muscles, this activity is an effective way to also strengthen and stretch the muscles in your foot and ankle. Stand behind a chair and grip the top of the chair for support. While keeping your weight even between your feet, lift your pain-free foot off the ground and then lift the heel of your sore foot as high as you're able. Hold this position briefly and then lower it back to the floor slowly. You can repeat this stretch 10 times, provided it's not causing you pain.
For more information, contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine or a similar location.