Podiatrist in San Leandro, CA
Foot Doctor of the East Bay
1300 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 483-3390
(510) 394-6402 fax
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If you’ve looked at any fitness magazines—or watched any late-night infomercials—you’ve probably seen and heard plenty about blasting away fat, building endurance, bulking up muscles, or just plain “getting ripped.” Our society spends a lot of time focusing on your stomach and abs, arms and chest, legs and core. It’s easy sometimes to forget about your feet, but do so at your own peril—feet and ankles need stretching and exercise, just like any other part of your body. Your feet—all 26 bones and dozens of muscles, tendons, and ligaments—bear your full weight every day. Physical therapy for feet is essential to keep them working at peak efficiency.

Before you Begin…

If you are experiencing any kind of foot or ankle discomfort, especially if the pain is significant, check with the experts at Foot Doctor of the East Bay before starting any kind of treatment method or physical therapy for feet routine. Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM will determine the cause of your discomfort and see if there are any fractures. You don’t want to do anything to risk aggravating an existing injury.

Standing Exercises

Here are some great standing stretches to improve foot and ankle conditioning:

  • Heel Cord Stretch - Stand up straight facing a wall, with your hands on the wall in front of you. Put your “good” leg forward, bending slightly at the knee, while placing the leg you want to stretch behind you with the heel flat and toes pointed in slightly. Do not arch your back. You should feel the stretch in your calf and your heel. Hold for 30 seconds, then relax.
  • Calf Raises - Grab the back of a chair to use as support and stand with your weight evenly distributed. Raise your heels as high as you can, then gently lower them. Repeat 10 times. For added challenge, lift one foot off the ground entirely and exercise one foot at a time.

Seated Exercises

If standing is difficult—or for a change of pace—consider trying these seated exercises involving a chair:

  • Ankle Range of Motion - You’ll need to sit up high for this one, so your legs can hang freely without touching the ground. Using just your ankle and foot—not your leg—draw out each letter of the alphabet in the air. You should feel the exercise working through the entire ankle and the top of the foot.
  • Marble Pickup - Grab a bowl and 15-20 marbles. Sit in a chair with both feet flat and pick up the marbles one at a time with your toes, placing them in the bowl. This works the plantar flexors, and you should feel it in your toes and the top of your feet.
  • Towel Curls - If you don’t have marbles, try this similar exercise. Set up the same way, only with a hand towel instead of marbles. Grab the towel with your toes and curl the towel toward you, then relax. Repeat five times.

Floor Exercises

Finally, here are a couple of exercises you can do while sitting flat on the floor.

  • Ankle Dorsiflexion - This exercise requires an elastic stretch band; make sure the resistance is something you can tolerate comfortably. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Place your elastic band around a chair or table leg in front of you, then wrap it around your foot. Pull your toes toward you, then gently return to the start position. Do 10 repetitions.
  • Plantar Flexion - Just like ankle dorsiflexion setup, only this time you’ll hold one end of the elastic stretch band and put the other end around your foot. Point your toes forward, then gently return 10 times.

These are just a few of the great stretches and exercises you can do at home to help build up your strength and conditioning in your lower limbs. For more information on physical therapy for feet, or to schedule an appointment, contact Foot Doctor of the East Bay today. Dial (510) 483-3390 for San Leandro, (925) 425-9684 for Pleasanton, or (408) 356-6767 for Los Gatos.

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