Stretch out the Benefits of Stretching

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When you’re starting a new exercise, it can be tempting to want to jump right in and skip any warm-ups or stretches, but stretching is crucial to keeping your feet safe during a workout! Your feet are incredibly complex: they have 26 bones and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments all working together to support your body. It’s not surprising that there are so many issues and injuries that can arise! A good number of these injuries can be linked back to improper exercise techniques. One easy way to help your feet and ankles stay safe is to make sure you’re stretching before any physical activity.

What’s so great about stretching?

Research has shown that stretching increases your joints’ range of motion by increasing their flexibility. When your joints can reach their full range, your muscles can move more fluidly and efficiently especially noticeable and important in exercises that utilize elongated muscles, like yoga, gymnastics, and dance. Regularly stretching also increases your blood flow. That’s especially helpful in winter months when your body is colder! Stretching can also help to prevent and ease foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammertoe.

What’s the best way to stretch?

Follow these tips for a safe, solid stretch:

  • Start slowly and move fluidly so your muscles can gradually loosen

  • Hold your stretches for about 30 seconds (but don’t hold your breath)

  • If you stretch on one side of your body, make sure you repeat that stretch on the other side

  • Know your limits! If you’re experiencing pain that means you are pushing and stretching too hard!

If you ever experience pain in your feet or ankles during stretching, especially pain that persists even when you are not actively stretching, It’s time to pick up the phone and call a podiatrist. Dr. Stuart Snyder, and Dr. Sara Sharma, here at Maple Springs Foot Center are board certified podiatrists who serve the Gaithersburg, MD area. They have extensive experience diagnosing and treating any foot or ankle conditions. To get in touch, request an appointment online or call our office conveniently located in Gaithersburg, MD at 301-762-3338.