April is National Foot Awareness Month which is a month-long initiative to maintain the health of your feet. We depend upon our feet every single day, entrusting them to take us wherever we need to go. Did you know that most Americans log an amazing 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach age 50? Our feet are such an important, yet often overlooked, part of our lives. We expect so much from them and yet we give them so little acknowledgment or attention in return. So, let’s take a moment, or a month even, to support what some may call the foundation of our whole body and overall well-being. (April is Foot Health Awareness Month, 12)
The foot is a complex structure divided into 3 parts; the hindfoot, the midfoot and the forefoot and has more bones than almost any other part of the human body. The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons. With that many moving parts, it’s no surprise that so many people experience foot pain. Whether it be injury or overuse, or simply cheap shoes…many of us are known to complain of “our aching feet.”
We are going to focus on the hindfoot this month where you will find the heel--the largest bone in your foot. There are several common causes of heel pain including Plantar Fasciitis, sprains caused by physical activity, and Achilles Tendonitis just to name a few. And any of you who have experienced it know that heel pain will most definitely affect your daily movement, even altering the way you walk. Adjusting the way you walk to compensate for that ache could easily lead to losing your balance and potentially falling-- thus making you more prone to injuries. (Burke, 2019)
Standing calf raises are a relatively easy exercise that will help strengthen the tendons in your heel and calf to provide added support in your arch. Calf raises are excellent for stretching the plantar muscles of the foot, improving ankle strength and mobility and primarily work the two main calf muscles that connect to the Achilles tendon. The technique is straightforward. Raise up on the balls of your feet as high as you can extending the ankle and flexing your calf muscle (you may need to stand near a wall or keep the back of a chair nearby for support). Slowly lower yourself back to the ground. That’s it! There are countless variations of calf-raises but what we just described is the basic move. (Romine, 2020)
Join us for the month of April and follow along with Tycor's Healing the Heel Challenge Calendar. If you want to take it up a notch, hold weights for added resistance or start with the balls of your feet on a raised surface. If you have a calf or ankle injury, please check with your physician before participating!
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April is Foot Health Awareness Month. (12, April 2019). Retrieved from www.foot.com: https://www.foot.com/april-is-foot-health-awareness-month/
Burke, D. (2019, March 7). What Causes Heel Pain? Retrieved from www.healthline.com: https://www.healthline.com/health/heel-pain#
Romine, S. (2020, May 6). How To Do Standing Calf Raises. Retrieved from www.openfit.com: https://www.openfit.com/standing-calf-raise