To say that the calf muscles may help you with tarsal tunnel, a set of nerve symptoms in your ankle, may seem like kind of a stretch—like saying avocados will solve the world’s problems. Well, unfortunately the latter is untrue, but the former is correct! Calf stretches and plantar fascia exercises are some of the stretches for tarsal tunnel syndrome that can improve your pain and discomfort.
You might be thinking, why calf stretches? It is important that you stretch the calf, since a tight muscle there will increase overpronation, which is one cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
You can start stretching your calf by facing a wall and placing your palms flat against it. Extend one foot behind you and keep it straight. Lean into the wall, bend your front leg and place more and more body weight onto your palms. Keep your back leg straight and hold the pose for 60 seconds when you feel a stretch in your calf. If you can’t feel the stretch, move your back leg farther behind you.
To stretch the soleus muscle, simply bend the back leg at the knee until you feel a stretch lower in your calf. If you can’t feel the stretch, place something underneath the toes of the back foot. Repeat both of these stretches three to five times during the session for three sets a day.
Keeping the plantar fascia stretched is another way to rehabilitate your foot from tarsal tunnel syndrome. To stretch this tissue that runs along the arch of the foot, simply pull your toes and the ball of your foot towards you—it is that easy! You should be able to see and feel the stretch. Hold for 60 seconds, repeat five times, and do this exercise three times a day.
You can also roll your arch over a tennis ball or a can of soup to stretch the area. Make sure you press down hard enough to receive the benefits of this massage-like stretch.
When you find yourself with nerve pain, and stretches for tarsal tunnel have not improved your discomfort, contact Dr. Brian McDowell and Dr. Gavin P. Ripp in Carmichael, CA, at 916-961-3434. The McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!