So much of what we do as physiotherapists is working with our patients to fix their specific problem (or problems!) This ranges from rehabilitating after an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction, sorting out a kinked neck after a bad nights sleep, all the way to managing Plantar Fasciitis. The list is honestly endless!
With the “weirdness of the world” over the last few months though (and now gyms are returning to normal action) we thought it would be cool to provide some common stretches that are a bit more general in nature. These are for those niggling little tight areas that are troubling you, but you may not necessarily feel as though you need to seek out a physiotherapy appointment.
A great rule of thumb is if something musculoskeletal is bothering you for MORE than 4-7 days (whether this is associated with exercise or not), then you should get it checked out. Often these sort of problems manifest and get worse from there and lead to further issues, often a full blown injury.
In that little 4-7 day window though, try one of the following stretches that might be appropriate for you and it might be possible you can manage the problem without our help.
Special shoutout to Matt from Fit180 Sandgate for being such a fantastic model!
1. Rolling your foot with a Footeez
- Foot pain
- Arch discomfort
- Calf pain
- Achilles niggle
- Back of leg tightness
Okay so this isn’t technically a stretch but rolling out the bottom of your feet feels great and can help ease general foot and calf/leg soreness. If you don’t have a Footeez then try a tennis ball or whatever your heart desires.
1-2 minutes for each foot, 1-2 times per day MAXIMUM
- Rolling too hard
- Rolling a foot that is more than a 4/10 pain
- Previous history of Plantar Fasciitis
If any of these “caution” markers are applicable to you for any of these stretches recommended, you should see a physio and it is not appropriate to follow a generalised routine like the one outlined.
2. Lumbar Lock Rotation
- Neck pain
- Mid-back tightness
- Lower back pain
- Stiff feeling through sternum/rib/abdominal area
- Prolonged sitting/office workers
- Poor posture
Because your hips and knees are flexed, all the movement happens at the THORACIC part of your spine which is primarily responsible for rotation through our spine. So many of us are commonly tight in this area because in this modern society… we simply don’t rotate enough! It’s not ideal to go from sitting and NOT rotating to rotating (++) in the gym or any other facet of your life, this one fills the gap!
2-4 sets or 10 repetitions on each side, at least once per day. Great to do before activity.
- If there is nerve pain in the arms and legs associated with your symptoms
- You are in more than 4/10 pain
- You have a previous spine pathology
- You get pain in your knees or hip when you adopt the position