We’re reaching the end of March, and thus the end of Cheerleading Safety Month—but not the end of the need for investing in young cheerleaders’ physical health. Whether you consider cheerleading a sport or not, it can be a dangerous activity. Falling or landing incorrectly could mean a sprain or fracture. Hard impacts from flips and tumbling can cause foot damage, and pushing off the ground for these jumps can stress and overwork tendons. All of this can contribute to nerve pain from tarsal tunnel syndrome. The good news for cheerleaders, and any other athletes, is that stretches for tarsal tunnel should help alleviate your discomfort and let you get back to enjoying sports.
Your tarsal tunnel is a space beside your ankles bones on the inside of your ankle joint. The space is covered by a ligament, forming a “tunnel.” Many different structures run through this tunnel, including the posterior tibial nerve. Unfortunately, this tunnel is pretty narrow, so any swelling or joint tilting around it can pinch that main nerve and cause shooting, tingling pains into the sole of your foot.
Stretches for tarsal tunnel helps relax tightened tissues around the ankle, so they’re less likely to pinch and aggravate the posterior tibial nerve. This can also strengthen them so your arch and ankle stay stable and are less likely to roll in and cause problems. Here are a few tarsal tunnel stretches and exercises you can try:
Pencil Pick-Up – Drop a few pencils on the ground. Pick them up using just your bare toes.
Toe and Heel Walking – Walk in a straight line on the tips of your toes. Then walk back on just your heels.
Sitting Calf Stretch – Sit with your legs in front of you. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull back on the ends. You should feel the stretch in your calf.
Pain-free feet for cheerleading and any other sport are worth cheering about. Stretches for tarsal tunnel can make a difference with helping this kind nerve pain, though this may not solve the problem altogether. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, take care of lower limb nerve pain for you. Call (830) 569-3338 to make an appointment with us, or use our web request form.