Whether someone is a first time or a chronic sufferer of plantar fasciitis there is one thing everyone can agree on: it is not fun. Many people suffering from plantar fasciitis for the first time can become very alarmed – as they should be. The condition can be crippling and extremely painful – so to better understand what is actually happening keep reading below.
What is Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a severe foot pain that is the result of small rips and tears on the bottom of the foot where the plantar fascia (a broad band of connective tissue) connects the heal bone and the ball of the foot. Although the degree of pain may vary it is usually felt when walking/running and sometime while standing.
When the plantar fascia is inflamed (or damaged) any form of stress or pressure on the tissue will result in a shooting pain. The only way to completely heal plantar fasciitis is time – but some specialized exercises and stretches will help speed up the process.
Exercises & Stretches to Treat & Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
The trainers here at TopStretch have put together three easy-to-follow stretches and exercises. These should be done in a slow and precise manner. It is very important that one doesn’t overstretch their plantar fascia, which may result in an extended healing period.
This exercise must be done on a slightly elevated platform – it is recommended to use a yoga block or the first step in a stair case. Stand on the step/block with one foot using a railing or wall to help balance.
Slowly lower the heel below the plateau of the step until you start feeling a gentle stretch in throughout the calf muscle.
Hold that position for 30-60 seconds depending on comfort level. Gradually raise your heel until your art standing on you “tippy toes”. Repeat the above steps with the other foot.
Rest for 60 seconds and try to complete 6 reps of this exercise.
Wall Leg Stretch
Stand about a foot and a half away from a wall or railing with your toes pointed towards that same wall or railing.
Plant your hands firmly against the wall or railing while leaning slightly forward. At the same time move on foot backwards while keeping your “lead foot” in the same place. Keep your lead knee slightly bent.
Ensure both feet are planted flat on the ground. If they aren’t, reduce the distance between them until they are both flat.
Lean forward towards the wall/railing until you feel tension in your calf and foot – you’d like to create as much tension as possible without being in pain.
Hold that position for 30-60 seconds. Slowly let go the position and return to the original position facing the wall. Repeat for 5 reps.
Sitting Foot Stretches
This is the most simple stretch in the line-up. This stretch is best utilized as your first or your last stretch. This stretch requires the use of resistance bands.
This stretch requires the patient to sit on the floor with their legs stretched out in front of them. Loop a resistance band around the ball of your foot. Gently pull the resistance bands in towards your chest making sure to keep your legs extended. Allow the straps to pull the top of your foot towards you.
Only pull until you feel a slight tension in the arch of your foot and you calf muscle. Do not pull to the point where you are in pain. Hold this full stretched position for 30 seconds and release. Switch to the other foot and repeat the stretch.
As a bonus these same exercises should be performed on a daily basis even after one has been relieved of their plantar fasciitis. Doing so will help ensure that the tendons don’t become inflamed again and will prevent a reoccurring injury.
Massages & Ice Compression
Massaging the inflamed area can temporarily help relieve pain but also build up strength. This is best accomplished with a massage ball or a foam roller. Gently roll the entire arch of the foot over the ball or roller applying enough pressure that one feels strain but isn’t in pain. This massage will help elongate the entire muscle strand along the bottom of the foot and also help release any pressure.
Ice compression therapy will also help the muscles in the foot relax and relieve pressure. The best bet for this is using an ice foot compression and a compression sock afterwards.
Yes – plantar fasciitis is a big pain – but it can be treated. With regular exercise and developing a treatment regimen revolving around the above-mentioned exercises and stretches people generally make a complete recovery in 30 days. Continue the regimen indefinitely and plantar fasciitis shouldn’t ever be an issue again.