Foot conditions tend to develop over time and the best treatment is prevention. Soft tissue work is the way to prevent them!
Regular stretch and foam rolling routines for the feet, calves and legs will promote blood flow, increase joint flexibility and will help prevent issues from popping up in the future.
General Foam Rolling Guidelines
Foam rollers are great tools to use for soft tissue work. The following are guidelines for foam rolling, regardless of the tools uses (lacrosse ball, tennis ball, foam roller, etc.)
- Place the roller around the intended area.
- Using your hands and feet as leverage, do broad strokes and move the roller along the muscle.
- Pinpoint certain trigger points – tender spots on the muscle.
- Find one you can tolerate and keep pressure on that spot for 30-40 seconds. Remember to breathe!
- The pain/discomfort will start to dissipate.
- Once 30-40 seconds is up, move on to the next trigger point.
- Repeat for allotted time.
Note: It is crucial to spend 30-40 seconds on tender areas and take deep breathes. This will send signals to the brain to relax the muscle.
In need of Rehabilitation for a Foot Injury? Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you have any questions, or want a consultation with a professional, feel free to call, or schedule an appointment online at any of our Bergen County or Passaic County offices in New Jersey. Choose from Glen Rock, Franklin Lakes, Fair Lawn, Ho-ho-kus/Ridgewood, and/or Clifton – we make it possible for you to visit any of our offices at your convenience.
When it comes to foot conditions, the following are great areas to target with a foam roller.
Soft Tissue Work: Calves
- Place the roller on the meaty part of your calf.
- Place your hands behind you for support.
- Lift your butt and place pressure on the calves.
- You can roll both at the same time, but if you feel nothing, place one leg on top of the other.
Pro Tip: It is also possible to roll your calf with a lacrosse or tennis ball, it can be done the same way just remember to elevate your leg on a yoga block or stack of books. Keep the ball on the meaty part of your calf and then flex your foot up and down.
- Kneel in front of foam roller.
- Lean forward, pinning the roller between your thighs and the floor (you will be in a low plank position but with the roller on your thighs).
- Roll up and down your leg.
- Do not roll over your knee.
- It is possible to foam roll one leg at a time by placing on leg on top of the other.
Pro Tip: Tilting your body on one leg to get the outside muscle of the quad (vastus lateralis).
Bone Saw Calf Smash
This soft tissue work exercise comes straight form Dr Kelly Starrett.
- Kneel on the ground.
- Cross on leg over the other positioning the shin or instep on the top of your leg across the calf of your bottom leg.
- Locate a tight area and apply pressure by seesawing back and forth.
- To add more pressure, sit back
- Can be done on cushion or roller
Here is a video to help you out:
After doing some tissue release techniques, follow up with stretching.
Classic Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on the ground
- Keep weight over knee on ground(use padding if hard surface)
- Keep a neutral spine
- Squeeze butt of grounded knee and push hip forward.
- Hold 15-20 seconds
- Switch to the other side
Classic Calf Stretch Stretch
- Place hands on a wall or post.
- Bring one foot forward and place the ball on the wall/post.
- Keep your hip back, forward leg straight and lean into the wall.
- Hold for 15-20 seconds.
- Switch to the other side.
*Bonus – Toe Mobilization
Toes are often neglected. They are regularly confined to shoes and rarely splayed and stretched. After your foam rolling and stretching try this out for more soft tissue work.
First, let us roll the bottom of the feet using a lacrosse or tennis ball.
- Step on a ball anywhere along the bottom of your feet.
- roll the ball down and up the foot by moving it side to side (like a windshield wiper).
- Take your time and focus on tender spots.
Toe Finger Splice
- Place your hand on the bottom of your foot and stick your fingers between the toes.
- Move your toes back and forth and side to side.
- Repeat by placing your hand on the top of your foot.
When done, or if too painful, grand and pull each toe individually starting with the big and index toe.
- Grab the big toe with one hand and the index with the other.
- Pull each toe in different directions.
- Move on to the next set.
- Hit every pair.