Preventing foot injury

Injury, overuse or conditions causing inflammation involving any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot can cause foot pain. Foot injury, in particular, can occur from a direct penetrating pain from a fall, twist or abnormal bending of a limb. Injury can also be the result of overuse, when too much stress is placed on your joint or other tissue, such as overdoing an activity or repeating the same activity over and over. These pains, however, are ones that we can work towards preventing, we can do this by regularly stretching our feet and wearing appropriately fitted footwear. Here at Rieker, we are on hand to take you through the necessary steps to prevent foot injury, the best stretches post-injury and advice on what we should be looking for when it comes to footwear.

Stretches to prevent foot injury

Calf stretch 

A calf stretch can relieve foot and heel pain. 

Step your preferred leg forward, keeping it bent, lean forward slightly. Keep your alternative leg straight and try to lower that heel to the ground. (Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg).

Toe Spread 

A toe spread works the small muscles in the toes to improve balance and help you carry your feet through their full range of motion. 

While seated, place a thick rubber band around your toes and spread them apart. Double the band if it’s not tight enough to provide resistance. Hold this for 5 seconds and  do this 10 times on both feet. (Repeat this exercise 3 times a week). 

Seated Arch Stretch 

Increases flexibility in the arches of your feet and also eases arch pain. 

Sit on a chair and grab your right toes and gently pull them back, this stretches the plantar fascia. Hold for 10 counts and then repeat 10 times. (Repeat with opposite foot). 

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This causes a stabbing pain that commonly occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you start to move around, the pain in your feet usually decreases, but could return after long periods of sitting. 

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners, people who are overweight or those who wear shoes with inadequate support. Although plantar fasciitis can develop without an obvious cause they are factors that can increase the risk of it occurring, they are: 

  • Age – It is common between the ages of 40 and 60. 
  • Certain exercises – Long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance can all contribute to stress on your heel and attached tissue.
  • Mechanics of the feet – Flat feet, a high arch or your pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed and can put added stress on the plantar fascia. 
  • Obesity – Excess weight can put extra stress on your plantar fascia. 
  • Standing on your feet for long periods of time – Factory workers, teachers, retail assistants, and hospitality staff who spend most of their working hours standing on hard surfaces can cause damage to the plantar fascia.

Ignoring symptoms of plantar fascia can result in chronic heel pain than can impact your regular everyday activities. Changing the way you walk to relieve the pain can lead to foot, knee, back or hip problems. 

Foot stretches for plantar fasciitis

  1. While seated, roll your foot back and forth over a cold can, frozen water bottle or foam roller. Do this for a minute and then switch to the other foot.

  2. While seated,  fold a towel lengthwise to make an exercise strap. Place the folded towel under the arches of both feet. Grab the ends of the towel with both hands and gently pull the tops of your feet towards you. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. (Repeat this 3 times). 

Tips and precautions for plantar fasciitis 

  1. Take it easy 

You need to give running a rest until the inflammation in your plantar fascia eases. Perform gentle recommended stretches and take anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen if you need to. 

  1. Take things slow  

Once you have rested and iced your heel pain, ensure that you take precautions when starting to exercise or run again. Make regular stops and ensure you punctuate your run with calf stretches. 

  1. More support 

Resting and stretching can help mend plantar fasciitis, you need to ensure you have strong sturdy shoes. Adequate footwear with proper support and a comfortable fit is important to avoid heel pain and preventing other related injuries. Our Rieker shoes are crafted using our signature antistress and antishock technology,  which will provide your feet with the essential support needed. 

Daily exercises for your feet 

Daily exercises are essential for working the small muscles in your feet and ankles to enhance mobility, increase flexibility and keep them pain-free. 

  1. Toe spelling – elevate one foot and write the alphabet with your toes (switch feet and repeat). 
  2. Toe lifts – Pick up a marble with your toes. Hold for 20 counts and repeat twice, (switch feet and repeat). 
  3. Foot taps – Sit with your feet flat on the floor and tap them 50 times, keeping your heels down. (switch feet and repeat). 
  4. Heel and toe walk – Walk on your heels for a minute then repeat with your toes. 

How to prevent foot pain 

Although foot pain is common, it’s not something that should be happening on a regular basis. You must seek medical advice if your foot pain hasn’t resolved after a week or two of at-home treatment.  In the meantime, these following tips can help prevent on-going foot pain: 

  • Choose comfortable, roomy and well-cushioned shoes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Stretch before partaking in exercise. 
  • Practice good foot hygiene.
  • Avoid shoes with high heels and narrow toe areas. 

Here at Rieker, our shoes are more than just a fashion statement. They are designed and crafted with our signature antistress and antishock technology. Our Rieker shoes provide optimum shock absorption on various surfaces, maximum reflexibility and a design that allows space for feet to expand during the day.  

Wearing the wrong shoe can exacerbate existing problems such as pain or arthritis in your hips, knees, ankles or feet; that’s why it is essential to choose shoes that offer comfort and style in equal measure. Rieker shoes eliminate pressure points so reduce the risk of both pain and injury while offering luxurious styling. 

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