Working toward preventing foot injuries or leg pain from occurring is as simple as incorporating simple stretches into your daily routine. Of course, stretching is no new suggestion to keep your muscles limber, but it’s important to know how stretching is beneficial to your overall health and how you can go about stretching in a safe and effective way.
The main benefit of stretching is gaining flexibility. Better flexibility means your joints will move through their full range of motion, which can lead to benefit both your physical performance and decrease your risk for injury. For example, by stretching your Achilles tendon, you are preventing the occurrence of tendinitis that is often caused by a decreased range of motion that results in overload and then injury. Stretching also reaps the benefits of increased circulation to your muscles and cartilage, which reduces muscle soreness and pain.
Although stretching can be performed anywhere and anytime, make sure you are doing it safely and effectively! Incorrect stretching can do more harm than good. Before you take on stretching, Podiatrist Harvey Danciger recommends following these tips to make sure your stretching technique is the right one. They include:
- Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. Stretching cold muscles can cause you to hurt yourself. Instead, warm up by walking or jogging at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes before you stretch. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up.
- Focus on major muscle groups. Focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, your neck and shoulders while stretching and make sure to evenly stretch both sides.
- Don’t bounce. Bouncing while you stretch can create small tears in your muscle, which can leave scar tissue that causes your muscles to tighten, resulting in less flexibility and being more prone to pain. Be sure to hold a stretch for 30 seconds and to repeat three of four times.
- Don’t aim for pain. If you’re feeling pain instead of tension while you stretch, you’re pushing yourself too far. Back off to the point where you feel no pain and hold the stretch.
- Keep up with your stretching. You can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times per week.
Don’t let tight muscles cause you pain or injury. To find simple stretches you can use, visit our website or contact our office today.