Whether you're a long-distance runner or you just spend most of the working while standing, coming home to tired and sore feet can leave you searching for relief. If you don't have access to a professional masseuse or a foot spa, stretching exercises are one of your best bets for getting temporary relief of your minor foot pain. Talk to your doctor if you experience significant pain from foot stretching exercises.
Plantar Fasciitis Stretch
Plantar fasciitis is a common source of pain in the foot, primarily in the heel. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that stretches from your heel to the bottom of your foot and almost to the toes. To stretch out the plantar fascia, sit on the floor with your knee bent and grab the toes of your foot with one hand. Slowly bend back your toes with your hand and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. You also can stretch out your plantar fascia by standing facing a wall and sticking one foot out behind the other. Bend both legs at your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor until you feel a stretch in your back heel. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then rest and repeat.
A simple way to stretch out the muscles in your feet after a long run or when you're feeling pain is the step stretch. Find a step or elevated surface that can support your weight. Stand with your toes on the step and your heels hanging over the edge. Slowly lower your body so your heels dip down below the edge of the step and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Lift your body back up and rest, then repeat the stretching exercise three to four more times.
Ankle circles help stretch the muscles and tendons that travel throughout your feet. To do ankle circles, sit or lie on the floor with your leg extended and your ankle elevated slightly off the floor. Slowly turn your ankle in a clockwise fashion five to 10 times. Reverse the ankle circles by turning your ankle counter-clockwise for five to 10 turns. You can also try using your foot to draw the letters of the alphabet for better variety of range of motion in the ankle.
For direct access to the muscles in the top and bottom of the foot, try ankle stretches. Start by sitting in a chair with one leg crossed over the other. Grab your foot with both hands. Place both thumbs at the top of your foot with your fingers wrapped around and under your foot. Slowly bend the bottom of your foot out and hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then stop and rest. Repeat the exercise, this time bending the bottom of your foot in to stretch the top of the foot.