Plantar fasciitis exercises are essential if you suffer from this painful injury because there is nothing worse than losing your mobility.
Whether you are training for a marathon or want to walk across your home without feeling pain, various problems with your feet, ankles, and shins can stop us in your tracks.
If this is happening to you, then it is time for you to take action and regain your mobility. For a growing number of Americans, Plantar Fasciitis is their top concern. It affects their ability to walk and causes increasing pain with use, which can really stop you in your tracks.
Simple Plantar Fasciitis Exercises
Thankfully, there are some Plantar Fasciitis exercises out there that you can do to speed up your recovery and stop it from occurring in the future. – let’s get started!
Heel Pain Stretching
The most important treatment for plantar fasciitis is stretching. The more stretching you can do, the faster the healing time. For those who have pain at the first step in the morning, remember to stretch BEFORE you get out of bed and take a step down.
Plantar Fascia Specific stretching regimen.
This plantar fascia specific stretch is the most important because this regimen has been studied and shown to be beneficial. To perform this stretch, place your affected foot on your opposite knee. Grab your heel with the opposite hand and use the other hand to pull the toes back, especially the big toe. You should feel a stretch within the arch.
Confirm the stretch by bringing your thumb along the inside of the arch and palpating the tension on the plantar fascia, as seen in the image to the right. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and then repeat it ten times.
This should be performed three times a day and is best performed first thing in the morning and then before weight-bearing during the day. More information and research on this plantar fasciitis-specific stretching regimen.
Morning Stretch: Perform this stretch by taking a stretch band (or a belt or towel) and placing it by your bedside. When you wake up, place the band around the ball of your foot and pull. Keep your knee extended (straight). If you are flexible enough, grab your toes with your hand and pull them towards you.
This stretch can help even if you are using a night splint. Hold this stretch for 60 seconds. It would help if you also did this stretch before getting up from chairs, off the couch, and even out of a car.
If you cannot do the stretch with a band, then use a coffee table, chair, or car door to do the stretch by placing your forefoot on a stable object and pushing your heel down.
You can perform calf stretches by using the wall for support. Both stretches below involve placing the affected leg back, balancing on the wall, and keeping the heels down. Hold each stretch for 60 seconds and repeat three times. Do these stretches 2-3 times throughout the day.
Place your hands and arms against a wall and place your affected leg or foot back behind your body. Bend your front leg and align your shin almost parallel with the wall. Lean forward. Both heels should stay on the ground.
You should feel a stretch in the back of the calf on the affected side, and you may also feel the stress in your hamstring. Place your hands against the wall and place your affected leg behind your body. Instead of keeping this knee straight, bend at both knees. The heels should stay on the ground. You should feel a stretch in the lower area of the calf.
In the stretch demonstrated in the image on the right, the heel should be on the ground and the toes on the wall. Place the unaffected foot behind you. Keep the legs straight and move the entire body forward.
Do not move your upper body forward and stick your backside out. You should feel a firm stretch in the back of the calf and some stretch in the arch.
To increase the stretch, move your heel closer to the wall and increase the angle of your foot. To decrease the stretch, move your heel back and lower your toes. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat three times.
You can do this same stretch by using a large book or block of wood. Stand on the book with your toes and drop your heels to the ground, supporting yourself against the wall.
This stretch can aggravate the pain in the very inflamed stage, so be cautious in the early stages of plantar fasciitis. Don’t hang your heels off the back of a step to stretch your calf if you are injured.
Do not stretch through pain. None of these stretches should be painful.
1. Reducing Early Morning Plantar Fasciitis Without Leaving Your Bed
For some, Plantar Fasciitis strikes the hardest early in the morning when they first wake up. The small number of steps from your bed to the bathroom can be enough to undo previous strength training and stretching.
With that in mind, there is a way you can do a few Plantar Fasciitis exercises before even leaving your bed. This way, your first steps every day are strong and confident.
All you need is your bed and either a belt or towel to do this exercise. Sitting straight with your legs in front of you, take your towel or belt and loop it around your foot. In particular, aim to loop it around the ball of your foot. While maintaining a straight leg, gently pull the belt or towel towards you.
This will flex your lower leg. You will want to do this five times every morning. Be sure to hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with your other foot if necessary.
With this exercise, you will be able to greatly strengthen the muscles that will help you beat your plantar fasciitis. In addition, you will remove the risk of re-damaging your injury before you even have a chance to start your day. This exercise will help you recover sooner and feel stronger.
2. Strengthen Every Part Of Your Body And Focus On Your Calves
Plantar Fasciitis can occur for several reasons. By targeting your calves and strengthening them, you can reduce the chances of any one of these reasons causing Plantar Fasciitis. In addition, you can aid in your recovery by strengthening the muscles around the plantar fascia.
To do this exercise, you will want to begin by standing against a wall. Carefully slide the leg that has Plantar Fasciitis backward towards the wall.
While sliding the leg backward and after it has come to a stationary position, apply pressure and push your heel down. You are looking for a stretch in the lower part of your leg. Once you feel the stretch, hold it for 30 seconds. Do this three times per leg.
By repeating this exercise several times a day, you can strengthen your calves and reduce the potential for future Plantar Fasciitis. In addition, building more muscle mass for your calves will help prevent several other conditions that can come up involving your feet.
3. Target Your Plantar Fasciitis Directly
A successful exercise approach for reducing Plantar Fasciitis will require targeting the entire area. This includes several Plantar fasciitis exercises specifically tailored toward your injury directly. The following exercise will help to loosen your Plantar Fascia tissue.
While sitting down, bring your knees to your chest. Grabbing your toes, slowly pull your toes up. You should be feeling stretched around the ball of your feet. Once you get this stretch, repeat it three times while holding each for 30 seconds.
After exercising your Plantar Fascia directly, you may want to massage it.
The easiest way to do this is to press the center of your foot on a tennis ball and roll the ball around your foot while applying pressure. Get more on the best plantar fasciitis foot roller.
In addition, consider freezing a bottle of water in a plastic container.
Before it freezes, take it out and roll your foot over it. The cold from the water will help ice your plantar fascia.
If exercise does not work, there are alternative methods to reversing Plantar Fasciitis that do not involve exercise. Ranging from simple inserts and new shoes to minimally invasive surgery, there may be alternatives that work for you.
As each person’s physiology is different and there are several causes of Plantar Fasciitis, it may take some time for you to find either the exercise or other treatment to solve your Plantar Fasciitis.
If you have done plantar fasciitis exercises for six months or more, strongly consider alternative forms of treatment. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting a treatment regimen.