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Peripheral Neuropathy Relief in the Feet & Legs – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today i’m gonna show you some stretches and exercises for peripheral neuropathy. Let’s get started. So basically peripheral neuropathy is when your hands and your feet start feeling numb, tingly, it almost feels like they’re falling asleep. And the reason for that is because those nerves, the peripheral nerves, kind of start dying a little bit. And then you don’t get that sensation down to your feet, sometimes to your hands. It’s more common in your feet. Things like diabetes cause this, and just other things in general, bad circulation. So a good way to get that circulation in there and get that feeling back is to exercise and stretch the areas. We’re going to focus on the feet today just because that’s the most common one. So getting them stretched out its really good.

Let’s start off with a calf stretch. There’s a bunch of different ways you can stretch your calves, but i’m just going to show you with a strap. So you can use a stretch strap if you have one, if you don’t, you can use a dog leash or you can just use a big beach towel or even a belt, but you want it to be something solid not one of those resistance bands. So just wrap it kind of around the ball of your foot. You want to relax your foot so you’re not actively moving it, you’re using the strap or the belt to actually pull your foot. So just relax it and then give it a nice pull until you feel a stretch in your calf area.

You want your knee to be straight, so some people might bend a little bit, but that’s not getting that stretch in your calves, so keep the leg nice and straight. Feel that stretch there and hold that stretch for about 30 seconds. Take a little break in between and then do three of those. So just really getting that stretch getting that flexibility in the feet is really important. Cause a lot of times when you have that neuropathy in your feet, you tend to not feel where your feet are and sometimes you stumble, trip, and fall, and so having good flexibility and strength helps that out as well. The next set of exercises you want to have your heel free-moving.

So if you’ve got a foam roll, or if you want to sit on the edge of something and let your foot hanging off, you want to be able to move that heel. So if you’re flat on the floor or something, you don’t have quite as much movement. But this time what you’re going to do is just an ankle pump. So pulling your foot up and then pushing it down, so really just getting some good movement in the ankle. So you don’t have to go fast, make sure you get a good push at the end. A good pull at the top, and just start off with about 10 of those. You don’t have to do a whole lot. Then the next thing is going to be ankle circles, so now you’re just making a circle at your ankle.

It’s not your whole leg, sometimes people want to kind of move the whole leg, try and keep the leg staying still and get most of that movement at the ankle. So do about ten one way and then reverse it and do it the other way. So just do 10 of each of those. So the next set of exercises are going to be lying down. You’re just going to do a straight leg raise. so you want to keep the leg nice and straight, locked out to keep it straight. If you pull up your toes, that helps keep it locked out, and keep that knee straight as well. With a straight leg raise, you just want to lift it to about the height of the other side. So you don’t have to get super high, you have to get about that much motion in there, and then slowly come back down. You’re really trying to control this movement, so you’re not, you know, using momentum just to kick it up and down, you really want to control that. Work those muscles, get everything nice and strong in there.

So just start off with about 10, then you can do a couple sets of ten, and then work your way up from there. So you do both sides, and then you’re going to do what we call hip abduction or kicking your leg out to the side. The leg on the bottom can be kind of bent, but you want your whole body to be in a straight line. A lot of times people if they kick up, they’ll kick kind of forward, but that’s not really working those hip abductor muscles. So pull your toes tight again and almost lead with your heel slightly back behind you, so you’re kicking back that way.

So a lot of people want to do that, but again that’s not getting those abductor muscles, so make sure you’re leading with that heel and going back just a little bit. So again just start off with about 10 and then you can work your sets up to two or three and then just kind of work your way up with your reps from there. Alright the next exercise we’re going to be standing up.

The next exercise is going to be a heel toe raise, and again this is just to kind of strengthen those ankle muscles, and get that increased circulation. So hold on to something sturdy and sturdy chair or counter top, if you have it, for some extra balance because, again, a lot of times when you don’t have that feeling down there, your balance is off just a little bit. So go up nice and slow and come down with a controlled motion. So it’s not just going up and down, but really controlling that movement, making those muscles work, and then pull your toes up when you come back down. So you’re just going to go all the way up with the heels, slowly come down, and then pull the toes up. So just start off again with about 10 of these, and then you can work your way up to 15 to 20. If those become easy, then you can go just to one foot, and still coming up nice and slow, down, and then pull your toes up.

So just going back and forth. And then the last exercise is for balance because again that’s one of those things that you lose when you don’t have that feeling down there, or you always have that tingling pins and needles feeling, or some numbness in there. So just a simple stand on one foot. Again have something nice and sturdy, you might have to start off with two hands, that’s ok. Try and get to at least 10 seconds, work your way up to 30 seconds or even a minute. If that becomes easy, then you can go to one hand, and then you can even go to no hands.

If all that becomes easy and you’re switching back and forth a couple times, there’s no problems with that, then if you really want to challenge yourself, you can try closing your eyes. And again you can see down at my ankle with my eyes closed, it’s moving a lot and that’s pretty normal, that’s just those muscles trying to find the balance, especially when you don’t have that feeling to help you find that balance. So there you have it. If you have any questions, leave in the comments section. If you’d like to check out some other videos go to Remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

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