Wearing the wrong shoes, especially for running, can cause foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, which is common in those just starting to work out. Ballerinas who go on pointe must stretch their feet to increase flexion in their arches. Foot stretches with an exercise band strengthen your ankles, while stretches on a stair step loosen your heels, plantar fascia and calves.
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Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your feet together. Wrap a wide exercise band around the balls of your feet and hold onto each end with one hand.
Pull the ends of the band toward you until your feet flex. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
Point your toes, pulling against the band. Maintain enough resistance in your grip that the tension between your arms and feet is balanced. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and release the band. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times or as many times as needed.
Stand with the balls of your feet on a stair step or an aerobics step with one or two risers underneath.
Hang your heels off the edge of the step. Your heels should be lower than the balls of your feet, and you should feel this stretch in your calves.
Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds. Rise up on the balls of your feet and hold that position for five to 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times or as many times as needed.
Tennis Ball Stretch
Stand with one foot on the ground and a tennis ball under the arch of the other foot.
Put as much pressure on the tennis ball as you can. Roll the sole of your foot on the tennis ball, holding for a few seconds in sore spots until the tension releases.
Repeat the exercise on the other foot.