Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

Foot and leg stretches for plantar fasciitis must be performed regularly in order to have an effective recovery process. Not only does stretching relieve pain symptoms but it helps treat some of the underlying causes responsible for the development of plantar fasciitis as well.

When ligaments and muscles become short or tight it can lead either directly, or indirectly, to the development of plantar fasciitis. Issues stemming from the plantar ligament, calf muscles or Achilles tendon are particularly problematic.

If these ligaments, muscles and tendons can be lengthened and loosened through the implementation of stretches for plantar fasciitis the patient has a much greater chance of recovering. Stretching can help reduce or eliminate over-pronation of the feet and reduce or eliminate inflammation as well. Most treatments are best used in tandem with other methods as a combination of techniques usually has the highest rate of success when treating plantar fasciitis.

How to do the Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

One benefit of using stretches for plantar fasciitis is that they can be done at home and do not require the use of equipment. For best results stretching should be consistently done twice a day, even when there are no active symptoms occurring. Once in the morning and once in the evening is ideal and the stretches can also be performed throughout the day as needed.
It isn’t required that all stretches be performed twice daily; time permitting they can be grouped by two’s and three’s and rotated over the course of the day. It’s important to perform the stretches on both the left and right side of the body even if pain is only being experienced in one foot.

In cases where pain is severe or the patient is sedentary it’s important to introduce the exercises slowly and with minimal repetitions. The patient can gradually work their way up to the recommended amount of exercise over time.

Foot Flex: This stretch is performed upon waking while the patient is still in bed. It stretches the plantar fascia and reduces or eliminates morning heel pain. It can be performed throughout the day as needed.

• Sit up and stretch your legs out in front of your body.
• Slowly point the toes down until you feel a light stretch in the calf muscle then flex your feet and point the toes toward the ceiling.
• Your legs should remain in contact with the bed at all times; the feet are bending at the ankles only.
• Repeat this movement 10 times. Rest 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle again up to 5 times.

Towel Flex: Perform this stretch in the morning and at night as well. You will need to fold a towel lengthwise, or you can use a belt or exercise band.

• Sit down with your legs extended out in front you.
• Straighten your knees.
• Wrap the belt around the ball of your right foot. Hold an end of the belt in each hand.
• Make sure you back remains straight as you pull on the belt. Your foot will flex and this may bring your heel slightly off the floor.
• Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat up to 5 or 6 times.
• Move the belt to your left leg and repeat.

Stair Stretch: Perform this exercise at least twice a day; more if you can.

• Stand the bottom stair or a low step.
• Let your heels dangle off the edge of the step.
• Slowly lower your heels. You don’t need to force this motion as your body weight will naturally stretch your tendons and muscles.
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 5 seconds. Repeat up to 5 times.

Calf Stretch: Perform this activity twice daily and after any physical activity is done, including excessive standing.

• Face a blank wall and place your hands on it in line with your shoulders.
• Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
• Step forward with your right foot and bend that leg at your knee.
• Keep your other leg straight—it will be the leg that gets stretched.
• Press your heels into the floor and shift your weight to your front leg until you feel the calf muscle of the back leg being stretched.
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat up to 5 times.
• Release the position, relax your legs, and repeat the stretch on the other side.

Quad Stretch: Perform this stretch as often as possible. The calf muscles, the muscles at the back of the hip and thigh and the Achilles tendon all benefit from this exercise. If you find yourself unbalanced you may use a chair for stability.

• Stand with your feet directly beneath your shoulders.
• Straighten your right leg out in front of your body.
• Raise the toes on your right foot toward the ceiling.
• Bend your left knee. Lean forward and place your hands on the thigh of your left leg.
• Push your hips behind you as if you were about to sit down. It’s perfectly acceptable for your body to lean forward.
• Deepen your position until you feel the stretch in your right leg.
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat up to 4 times.
• Switch legs and repeat.

Performing these stretches habitually is required for good results when treating plantar fasciitis. These movements should be performed twice daily and even more if time permits. Warming up the feet and lower legs before getting out of bed in the morning will reduce or prevent morning heel pain and stretches for plantar fasciitis should generally reduce both the level of pain and inflammation that the patient is experiencing.


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