Plantar fasciitis stretches

If you’re experiencing pain from plantar fasciitis, there are exercises you can do to help alleviate the discomfort. Both seated and standing exercises can be effective in providing relief. Here’s what you need to know:

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thin ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When it becomes damaged or torn due to repetitive motion or increased pressure, it can lead to inflammation and heel pain. This condition, known as plantar fasciitis, is a common cause of heel pain, affecting more than 50 percent of people. It is often seen in runners and pregnant women due to the strain placed on the ligament.

Stretching Solutions

Stretching your feet and calves can help soothe and prevent plantar fasciitis pain. Consider incorporating the following stretches into your routine:

Stretching Your Calves:

  1. Stand about an arm’s length away from a wall.
  2. Position your right foot behind your left.
  3. Slowly and gently bend your left leg forward.
  4. Keep your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then release. Repeat three times.
  6. Switch the position of your legs and repeat the stretch.

This stretch primarily targets the gastrocnemius muscle in your calf. As your plantar fascia heals and pain decreases, you can deepen the stretch by performing it with slightly bent legs. This variation focuses on loosening the soleus muscle in the lower calf. Remember not to hold the stretches for too long.

Seated Stretching Exercises for the Plantar Fascia:

  1. Sit upright and roll your foot back and forth over a frozen water bottle, ice-cold can, or foam roller for about one minute. Repeat with the other foot.
  2. Cross one leg over the other and gently pull your big toe toward you. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating three times. Switch legs and repeat.
  3. Fold a towel lengthwise to create an exercise strap. Place the folded towel under the arches of both feet while sitting. Grab the ends of the towel with both hands and pull the tops of your feet toward you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating three times.

Consistently practicing these stretches before your workout can help reduce heel pain and even prevent plantar fasciitis, according to personal trainer and triathlete Deborah Lynn Irmas.

Additional Tips and Precautions:

  1. Rest: Give running a break until the inflammation in your plantar fascia subsides. Rest for approximately two weeks, while icing your foot and taking anti-inflammatory medication if necessary.
  2. Gradual Return: After the pain has eased, gradually reintroduce running by starting with short distances at a slow pace. Incorporate calf stretches during your runs, stopping at markers along your route.
  3. Supportive Footwear: Make sure you wear sturdy shoes that provide proper support and fit well. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons emphasizes the importance of adequate support to prevent heel pain and other running-related injuries. Replace your shoes as needed to maintain the necessary cushioning and support.

By following these exercises and precautions, you can help alleviate the discomfort of plantar fasciitis and reduce the likelihood of its recurrence.