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Stretching: Exercises


Here are some examples of exercises for stretching. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Side stretch (hands clasped)

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slide 1 of 6, Side stretch (hands clasped),
  1. Sit or stand tall. If you're standing, keep your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Hold your arms above your head, and clasp your hands together.
  3. Pull upward with your left hand while leaning straight over toward your left side. If you're sitting, keep your bottom flat on the chair. You should feel the stretch along your left side.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Then switch sides.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each side.

Triceps stretch

Picture of triceps stretch
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slide 2 of 6, Triceps stretch,
  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. You can do this stretch sitting down if you are not steady on your feet.
  2. Bring your left elbow straight up while bending your arm.
  3. Grab your left elbow with your right hand, and pull your left elbow toward your head with light pressure. If you are more flexible, you may pull your arm slightly behind your head. You will feel the stretch along the back of your arm.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds, and then switch elbows.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each arm.

Calf stretch

Picture of calf stretch exercise
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slide 3 of 6, Calf stretch,
  1. Place your hands on a wall for balance. You can also do this with your hands on the back of a chair, a countertop, or a tree.
  2. Step back with your left leg. Keep the leg straight, and press your left heel into the floor.
  3. Press your hips forward, bending your right leg slightly. You will feel the stretch in your left calf.
  4. Hold the stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

Quadriceps stretch

Picture of quadriceps stretch
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slide 4 of 6, Quadriceps stretch,
  1. Lie on your side with one hand supporting your head.
  2. Bend your upper leg back and grab your ankle with your other hand.
  3. Stretch your leg back by pulling your foot toward your buttocks. You will feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. If this causes stress on your knees, do not do this stretch.
  4. Hold the stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

Groin stretch

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slide 5 of 6, Groin stretch,
  1. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Do not slump your back.
  2. Grab your ankles and gently pull your legs toward you.
  3. Press your knees toward the floor. You will feel the stretch in your inner thighs.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Hamstring stretch in doorway

Picture of hamstring stretch (lying down, using a doorway)
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slide 6 of 6, Hamstring stretch in doorway,
  1. Lie on the floor near a doorway, with your buttocks close to the wall.
  2. Let the leg you are not stretching extend through the doorway.
  3. Put the leg you want to stretch up on the wall, and straighten your knee to feel a gentle stretch at the back of your leg.
  4. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.