This time of year we are starting to think about those summer beach bodies, and the pressure of fitting into last year’s summer clothes has us rushing to our running shoes. Unfortunately, a lot of information online has fitness routines that advertise getting that “beach bod” or “tight toned legs” within just a matter of weeks. The truth is, frequently these routines do not include stretching exercises before and after your workout, which can lead to sudden leg and foot pain from tendonitis.
When you have sudden onset pain, without much recollection of a specific injury or incidence, it is often due to tendons being over-stressed and having too much tension. Stretching will help significantly decrease your chances of having injuries. Below, we have outlined some of the common tendonitis’ that occur as well as some stretching information to help each muscle group.
Symptoms: Pain to the back of your heel after activity or upon first steps after rest
Achilles Tendon Function: The achilles tendon functions as your major calf flexor and to help lift your foot off the ground.
Stretches: This is one of the most important muscle groups to stretch, as a tear or snap of this tendon will result in an extensive recovery and time off from working out. Standing with your heels off the end of a stair and allowing your heels to slowly slip down off the edge is a great way to do this stretch.
*Be sure not to just flex your toes upwards towards you as your version of a “Calf stretch”. While it might seem like you feel some stretch here, you are over-straining the opposing muscle tendons and are possibly making yourself prone to other forms of tendonitis.
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis:
Symptoms: Pain in your arch after activity. Generally, the more activity you do, the more pain you have.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Function: This tendon holds up the arch on the inside of your foot during all weight bearing activity- standing, walking or running.
Stretches: Any calf stretch will help this muscle group. Again, standing with your heels off the end of a stair and allowing your heels to slowly slip down off the edge is a great way to do this stretch.
Anterior Tibial Tendonitis:
Symptoms: Pain to the top of your foot, just short of your big toe joint. Most pain is on flexing your foot upward towards you or when you are driving
Anterior Tibial Tendon Function: This tendon helps stabilize your foot and allows you to flex your forefoot up towards you
Stretches: Usually this tendon starts to have issues when your calf muscles are tight, so any calf stretches will also help with this tendon. Additionally, pointing your toes and holding this stretch for 20-30 seconds will help some as well.
Symptoms: Pain to the outside of your foot and ankle, especially after walking distances.
Peroneal Tendon Function: This group is made up of 2 tendons (Peroneus Longus and Peroneus Brevis) that function to help stabilize the foot and keep your foot from turning inward.
Stretches: Generally, pain to this area infers that there is some change in how you are walking, either due to incorrect shoegear or compensation for another injury. Analyze your shoes first to make sure this isn’t the cause. If you aren’t sure, having a podiatrist look at your feet and shoes is always a good idea. Any peroneal stretches you can find online will be sufficient for these muscles since this is usually more of a positional issue.
Click here for more information on what conditions may be causing specific foot/leg pain: https://peninsulapod.com/where-does-it-hurt/
The interactive link allows you to hover over different areas of the foot and lower leg, and click on areas you want more information on.