I've just walked a couple of miles on a hike and my feet are really sore. I'm wondering if there were any good feet stretching exercises that I could do without any specialized exercise equipment. Anyone have any tips?
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The ankle is a gliding joint and only really operates along 2 axes of movement. This limits your options for movement. Ultimately, the stretch you want to do is determined by what muscles you want to stretch. If you want to stretch the muscles in the inferior aspect of your foot (sole), you're options are pretty much limited to dorsiflexion (pointing your toes toward your head.) How you go about doing it doesn't really matter so long as you're actually stretching it fully (i.e. you can't simply just flex your tibialis anterior muscle (shin muscle) and expect it to be effective. Additionally you need to apply pressure on your toes in order to get your muscles to stretch.)
That being said, if you're arches are stupidly sore and hurting within a couple miles, there is a very real possibility that your shoes aren't providing proper arch support or your shoes are tied too tightly and you're applying pressure against the top of your foot resulting in the flattening of your arch and the stretching of the muscles in the arch of your foot. In this case, stretching won't help you as excessive stretching for excessive time frames will result in pain. (A lesson I've learned from years in the infantry and snowboarding. Your shoes must be snug but not overly tight. If you feel pain again while hiking, loosen hte laces directly over your arches and see what happens. If that's the problem the pain should improve rather quickly.)
I have struggled with foot inflexibility for years. The best stretch that I have found for it is downward facing dog, particularly when focusing in one foot at a time.