If you’ve ever experienced plantar fasciitis, you know it’s a pain you don’t
want to have to deal with ever again. The most common symptom of plantar
fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot, near the heel or arch. This pain is
often worse in the morning, especially for the first few steps which can feel
sharp and jabbing. As the day progresses, the pain becomes a dull ache.
This pain is caused by an overly tight plantar fascia (the ligament
that connects your heel and toes). Putting too much stress on this ligament
causes inflammation, tiny tears, and pain.
People with a high risk for the condition include athletes, runners,
joggers, and jumpers. The condition makes the foot ache after working out – but
not while exercising. Other risks for plantar fasciitis include:
- Walking with an abnormal gait
- Wearing ill-fitting or
heavily worn shoes
- Spending most of the day
- Weight issues
- Flat feet
- Having diabetes
If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, one of the best ways to get
relief is with stretches that target the area giving you trouble.
Loosening the plantar fascia can prevent it from tearing, strengthen
the supporting muscles, help reduce stress on the ligament, and reduce
Exercises to Help Relieve Plantar Fasciitis
- Tennis Ball Roll
While seated, grab a tennis ball and put it under your foot. Gently roll the
ball underneath your foot’s arch. Perform this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes.
Repeat this exercise 2x per day.
- Towel Stretch
While sitting, wrap a towel around your foot. Extend your leg in front of
you and gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your leg stable, so your
toes point towards you. You should feel your calf muscle stretch. Hold the
position for 45 seconds. Repeat. Perform this exercise multiple times a day.
- Toe Stretch
In a seated position, push your leg out so that just your heel is on the
floor. Bend forward and touch your big toe. While doing this, flex your ankle
up so that it pulls away from the floor. Hold this position for about 30
seconds, take a break and repeat it 2 to 4 more times. Perform this
exercise 2 to 4 times a day.
- Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other (the back foot
should be the one with plantar fasciitis). Keeping the back leg straight, lean
your weight forward, bending into the front knee. Make sure your back heel
stays on the ground, stretching your calf muscle. Hold this position for about
45 seconds, take a break and repeat 2 to 3 more times. Repeat this
exercise a few times across the day.
Other ways to help alleviate symptoms are making sure your shoes fit
properly, using over-the-counter shoe inserts or doctor prescribed orthotic
devices, and even night splints. If the pain continues, see your doctor and be
sure to follow their recommendations.