Before beginning any exercise regimen, proper stretching is essential. If muscles are properly warmed up, the strain on muscles, tendons, and joints is reduced.
Stretching exercises should take 5 to 10 minutes and ought to be conducted in a stretch/hold/relax pattern without any bouncing or pulling. It is important to stretch the propulsion muscles in the back of the leg and thigh (posterior) as well as the anterior muscles.
Some effective stretching exercises to prepare the foot and ankle for exercise include:
-The wall push-up. Face a wall from three feet away, put one foot forward toward the wall and one foot back. Lock the knee of the back foot and lean into the wall, keeping back foot heel on the floor and hold for 45 seconds as the calf muscle stretches then relax and switch to the other leg. Do not bounce. Excessive tightness of the calf muscles can contribute to many foot and some knee problems. A key point of injury is the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel. When the calf muscle tightens up, it limits the movement of the ankle joint. Calf muscle stretching is very useful in the prevention and treatment of many foot problems.
-The hamstring stretch. Sitting on the floor, with one knee straight and locked, fold the opposite leg so the sole of your foot is against the thigh. Keep the other leg straight with knee locked and reach for your toes on the straight leg until the muscles tighten. Hold stretch for 45 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
-Lower back stretch. In a standing position, flex both knees slightly, feet spread slightly. With your arms folded in front of you bend over at the waist and let your upper body hang from your waist. Hold the stretch for 45 seconds . Do not bounce.