Your lower body, which includes your hips, your knees, and your feet, can experience pain, and this will affect your daily routine. Exercise might seem like the last thing on your mind, and that includes walking. But you aren’t the only one. Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis are common foot conditions. Also, about 15% to 25% of folks in the US experience knee pain too, which is the second most common type of chronic pain. But physical therapy exercises can help you relive some of that discomfort. And you want to know what the best part of it is? These simple exercises can be done at home and don’t take much time at all.
Ask any runner and they’ll tell you that foam rolling is the latest thing. Then again, so is iliotibial band inflammation, which is the ligament that’s outside of your thigh and runs from the hip to the shin. This can cause knee pain. How do you solve it? Try a foam roller. Place a foam roller below your right hip while laying on your ride side. Then cross your left leg over and let it rest on the floor ahead of you. Now keep your right hand on the ground and lift your left foot so it can roll down your right thigh, but stop when the foam roller is above the right knee. Now you can lower your left foot and return to the original position. Then you can do the same thing with the other leg.
Grab a chair, because it’s all you’ll need in order to work out the muscles in your ankles and around your knees. Rest your hands gently on the chair in front of you. A counter will work too. Make sure your feet are separated by a few inches. Then raise your heels off the floor slowly, but your knees have to remain straight. Now hold that position for six seconds, then lower your heels to the ground slowly. Do this on each leg 10 or 15 times.
Heel pain is most often the result of plantar fasciitis. That’s when the thick band of tissue connects your toes (plantar fascia) with your heel bone. The pain caused when this flares up is no laughing matter. The most common symptom involves a stabbing sensation near the heel of your feet. To relieve this pain, try this stretching exercise. Sit and cross one foot over your other knee. Grab the tips of your toes and pull them back towards you until you feel your foot stretching. Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds and repeat this exercise up to three times.
Try toe walking. It’s so easy to do, and it will strengthen your feet and your ankles. Plus, you can do this anywhere, anytime. You can toe walk while you’re at the office or when you’re at home. All you have to do is tip-toe anywhere from five to ten minutes, but pick up the pace and walk faster than you usually would. This doesn’t just benefit the balls of your feet or your toes, but also your calves, which will strengthen over time.
Would you say that your knees are out of whack? Don’t worry. You should try straight leg raises. You can strengthen the muscles in the front of the thigh, which are called quadriceps, with this super simple exercise, which causes very little knee strain. Rest your back on the floor or a mat. Then bend your knee and put your foot flat on the ground. Keep the other leg straight and raise it up to your other knee’s height. Do three reps of 10 to 15 times and you’ll notice the difference.
You can do ankle circles at the office, the gym, or even while you’re in the bedroom. You can exercise while you’re standing or while you’re sitting down. All you need is to raise your leg and rotate your foot in a circle. But make sure you’re moving your leg in a way that makes the joint of your ankle do the work. When you do your ankle circles, you’ll feel your calves and thighs pulling on your leg. Do this five to ten times, then repeat the process in reverse five to ten times, making full circles every time.
In order to build strength in your knees and leg muscles, try this advanced technique. Plant your feet on the ground and place your back against the wall. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slowly while keeping your pelvis and back on the wall. Hold it for five to ten seconds. Don’t bend down too far, and if the pressure and discomfort in your knees increase too much, switch positions. Now repeat the step, only this time, try to hold the sitting position just a few seconds longer.
Most of us don’t give the bottom of our feet much thought, unless they’re hurting. But if you have a tennis ball, you can relieve the pain easily. So grab a chair, sit, then place the bottom of your foot on the ball like you’re going to step on it. Then push the ball towards your toes and then reverse it. You not only get a foot massage, but you loosen a network of connective tissues that go all the way through your back up to the crown of your head. Your hamstrings also get a nice soothing massage, which is a major plus for you.
Do you ever exercise your feet? Chances are you don’t, so this next step might sound silly, but try it anyway. It’s so simple. Just try and pick a towel up with your toes. Start by sitting down. Then throw a towel on the floor. Now keep your heel on the ground, scrunch the towel between your toes and lift it up. Do this 10 to 20 times. As your strength improves, add a can of beans to the towel to increase the weight and your strength.
Hamstrings run from your hips and across your knees, which is why flexing and exercising these large muscles can soothe knee pain quite easily. Lie down on your back facing a doorway and keep your hips in line with the entrance. Your left leg needs to be straight out in front. Now place your straight right leg on the door jam, bending your knee ever so slightly. Then inch your way forward or back to get a better stretch. Regardless of which direction you choose, stay there, take 10 to 15 deep breaths and then switch.
Do you have tight calves and ankles? Find a wall at your house. It’s the answer to your problems. Face the wall, putting both hands on it at shoulder height. Now put one foot in front approximately 12 inches from the wall, and bend the front knee, but keep the back one straight. Now bend the front knee to the wall until your back leg’s calf is straight. Then bend the front knee to the wall until you feel tightness in the calf of your bag leg. Stretch for 15 seconds and do three reps every time.
Stretch and strengthen your hips with this exercise. All you need is to lay on your side with your legs stacked, but the bottom leg bent. This will provide support as you straighten and raise the top leg 45 degrees. Hold it for five seconds, then lower it and relax. Then repeat 10 to 15 times. Now do the same with the other leg. If you’re feeling bold, then point your toe of whichever leg you’re raising, towards the floor, and you’ll rock it. Ta-da!
What else can you call this hip stretch? It’s simply fantastic! Stretching your hip muscles, particularly the piriformis and the glutes, can have a positive effect on your knees. All you need to do is lie on your back and place your feet on the ground. Now cross your right ankle over the left knee and put your hands behind your left thigh. Then, gently pull your left knee to your chest, but do so slowly. Then do this on the other side. You’ll thank us!
This exercise is perfect for those of you who find it hard to bend their knees. Lie on the ground on your stomach, but a bed works too. Loop a yoga strap or resistance band around your right foot, holding one side with each hand. Then pull the strap or belt gently so your heel moves towards your butt. Hold the position as soon as you feel your hip flexor and quadriceps stretch. Now do the other side. Do these exercises daily and relieve the pain and the stress that your lower body goes through. You’ll be glad you did.