Girl Stretching

STRETCHING

Daily stretching can be a hard commitment to make, but a small part of your day can have a life-long impact

Tight muscles throughout the body can be a result of CMT, especially in the feet and legs. The results of which can range from mild inconvenience to more severe medical problems such as permanently rigid joints (contractures), decreased mobility and poor balance. Frequent stretching of problematic muscles can help alleviate these issues and should be part of most peoples daily routine when living with CMT.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSISTENT STRETCHING

While CMT is a neurological disease, it is likely to also have many mechanical impacts on people with the disease, and while stretching can help prevent, or delay, these issue from arising, it has to be done consistently to prevent loss of mobility where possible.

CMT mobility over time
MOBILITY OVER TIME

A reality with CMT is that remaining mobile is essential for keeping more debilitating parts of the disease minimised. Over time and without attention, mobility can worsen and bring with it more significant medical issues, such as stress fractures, bursas and contractures in the toes, feet and hands. Working on range of motion through stretching is a great way to remain mobile and prevent physical issues from arising.

KEY STRETCHES

A recommended approach to minimise the impact of muscle stiffness and shortening is to have a regular stretching program that is followed daily. This can help minimise, or even improve symptoms, and can be used in conjunction with a splint. Always consult a medical professional before starting a new stretching routine.

SINGLE LEG TOE TOUCH

This stretch is great for targeting your calf, hamstring, and Achilles tendon. Be careful with your balance as this can be an issue with some people with CMT.  Don't expect to be able to touch your toes on your first try!

Guide
  1.  Stable yourself against a sturdy object 

  2. Either standing or sitting down, extend a leg in front of you.

  3. Attempt to reach the toes with your corresponding hand. If you cannot reach your toes, hold onto however far you can reach down your leg.

  4. Hold still for 20 - 30 seconds. Repeat three times for each leg.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves

Stretching_edited.jpg
REAR QUAD STRETCH

This stretch will target your quadricep muscle which can be tight for people with CMT. This stretch can be done standing up or lying down on your side; whichever is safest is the best way to go about it. 

Guide
  1. Either standing or lying on your side, bring a leg behind you, keeping the knee tucked in

  2. By holding your foot, attempt to pull the heel towards your buttocks, again focusing on keeping the leg straight and parallel to your torso.

  3. Hold still for 20 - 30 seconds. Repeat three times for each leg.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps

Image by Matthew LeJune
STANDING CALF STRETCH

This stretch will mainly work your calves, although depending on the tightness of other leg muscles, may also stretch your hamstrings.

Guide
  1. Either standing or leaning against a sturdy surface, place a foot a few steps in front of yourself.

  2. Attempt to reach for the foot, while ensuring the heel of the opposite foot remains on the ground. This is essential for the calve to be stretched.

  3. Hold still for 20 - 30 seconds. Repeat three times for each leg.

Muscles worked: Calves, hamstrings

Image by Matthew LeJune