4 of best stretches for foot pain a full-time dancer swears by
1. Foot rolls with a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball
Kurzban’s first stretch is a simple one you can do under your desk while sifting through your inbox (seriously). Just grab a lacrosse ball or a tense ball and roll it along the sole of each foot, from heel to toe, moving up and down from side to side, until they feel brand new. Or, okay, at least a little bit better.
2. Ankle flexion exercises
Next, sit down on the floor and extend your legs straight out in front of you. You can place your hands behind your hips for support or find a wall. Point and flex your feet and roll your ankles around in both directions for as long as feels good.
3. Calf raises
“Calf raises strengthen the muscles that help support the feet and ankles,” says Kurzban. To perform, simply stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart. Lift your heels up to balance on the balls of your feet, then lower back down. Repeat for a minute.
4. Downward dog
Downward dog stretches your hamstring, calves, ankles, and feet. To get into the yoga pose, which is called “Adho Mukha Svanasana” in Sanskrit, simply unroll your yoga mat and come to your hands and knees. Push your palms down into the floor, draw your belly button toward you spine to support your low back, and lift your hips up into the air so that your form an upside down V shape, allowing your chest to sink down toward the ground. Ideally, both your arms and legs should be straight, but you can bend your knees as much as you need, depending on your hamstring flexibility. Pedal out your feet to feel a little extra stretch in your calves and feet.
Now that you know how to care for your feet, let’s get dancing:
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