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By Michelle Zehr
Problems with your metatarsal bones in the middle of your foot can be painful. Pain in these bones can be the result of a fracture or metatarsalgia, a condition that causes inflammation as well as pain in the ball of your foot. Metatarsal pain is often associated with physical activity and overuse. To treat metatarsal pain, your doctor may prescribe exercises to help strengthen the bones and alleviate the discomfort. Always consult your doctor if you sustain a foot injury.
Foot and ankle ups-and-downs are designed to keep your foot moving and increase flexibility following pain in your metatarsals. To complete this exercise, position yourself on a couch with your foot and ankle hanging a few inches over the edge. Move your foot and ankle up and down. Push as far down as possible, then pull as far up as possible. Complete one set of 20 repetitions on your affected foot. If both feet are affected, complete one set of 10 repetitions for each foot.
Ins-and-outs help to work the range of motion of your foot and ankle. Complete this exercise sitting on the ground — with your legs extended fully in front of you — or sitting on a couch with your foot and ankle hanging a few inches off of the edge. Slowly move your foot as far inward as possible, then slowly move your foot as far outward as possible. Never move your foot to the point of pain. Complete one set of 20 repetitions for your affected foot. If both feet are affected, complete one set of 10 repetitions for each foot.
Toe walking is a functional exercise than can help increase strength in your toes and the balls of your feet. While barefoot, stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly rise up onto your toes and the balls of your feet. Walk across the room for 20 seconds at a time. Complete one set of eight repetitions. As you progress, complete this exercise twice a day and increase the durations of your walk so that you are able to walk the entire length of a room.
Pencil lifting is designed to stretch and strengthen your metatarsals. Position a pencil just in front of your affected foot. Sit on a chair with your back straight up and your feet flat on the ground. Pick up the pencil using your affected foot. To do this, squeeze the pencil between your toes and the ball of your foot. Hold the pencil for six seconds. Relax and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions. Complete this exercise three times each day.