April is National Stress Awareness Month. We should always do good things for ourselves to lower our stress levels, whether it be going to a spa for a relaxing massage or taking a hike with beautiful scenery. One way to lower stress is to manage your pain caused by tarsal tunnel syndrome. There are exercises you can do for ball of foot pain that can be very effective in minimizing your discomfort.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when too much pressure is placed on the tibial nerve. This nerve runs from your ankle all the way to the front of your foot. Usually, too much strain is caused by abnormal foot structure, for instance if you have high arches or flatfeet. However, people with normal arches may also suffer from tarsal tunnel syndrome. There are exercises and stretches you can do to build up your strength.
- Pencil lift: Lay a pencil on a flat surface and use your injured foot to pick it up and hold it for 7-10 seconds. Then place it back down and repeat. This will strengthen your toes.
- Heel/toe walking: Walk on your toes for about 10-15 seconds. This will work your calf muscles. Then switch to walking on your heels while barefoot.
- Seated calf stretch: Sit with your legs placed out in front of you. Loop a towel around your feet and gently pull until you feel a slight stretch in your calves. Then switch sides and repeat 6-10 times.
- Standing calf stretch: Place your hands against a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. Push on the wall until you feel a stretch in your calves. Repeat on both sides 6-10 times.
- Plantar fascia stretch: Roll a golf ball or frozen water bottle along your arches. This will simultaneously stretch the arch and ease your pain. It’s almost a mini-massage!
Knowing how to effectively stretch your lower body (toes, arches, ankles, and calves) is important in managing many different kinds of foot conditions. If you have questions about stretches you can do, call Dr. Peyman Elison and Dr. Viedra Elison at (623) 584-5556 and schedule an appointment at Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ.
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