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Plantar Fasciitis Exercises To Reduce Heal Pain


Plantar fasciitis occurs commonly in people who have a lack of flexibility in their ankles and feet, who tend to over-pronate, or roll inwards, when they walk, who have flat or high arches or weak muscles in the feet. Plantar fasciitis exercises are very effective at correcting these conditions by increasing flexibility and strengthening the muscles that help to support the arch of the foot. As the ligaments become more flexible and the muscles strengthen, pain is reduced.

Exercises for plantar fasciitis need to be done everyday and the best strategy to get consistent pain relief is to set up a regular time to do a set routine of exercises. There are exercises that are helpful when done in the morning, before you get out of bed and others that can be done at night. You need to set aside five to ten minutes night and morning to work on reducing your heel pain.

The morning exercises help to reduce that early morning pain felt when you take the first few steps after getting out of bed. If you stretch the tissue before setting your foot on the ground, you will avoid those first agonizing steps of the day. Studies have shown that doing plantar fasciitis exercises before bed also helps to reduce heel pain the next day.

Plantar fasciitis exercises are simple and easy to do; they require no special equipment or expertise and need only a few minutes of your time, twice a day. You need to start exercising gently and slowly, especially if your condition is severe or has been with you for some time. Forming the habit of doing the specific exercises twice a day, every day, is possibly the most difficult part of the program.

There are basically two groups of plantar fasciitis exercises – stretching and strengthening.

Stretching plantar fasciitis exercises

Stretching exercises for plantar fasciitis are directed at stretching the plantar fascia ligament, the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles. The shortening and tightness of these tissues are direct causes of the condition so the exercises help to reduce pain and prevent flare-ups. Always exercise both sides of the body, not just the injured part.

Morning Stretches: these two stretches are best done in the morning, before you get out of bed, to warm the foot muscles and stretch the plantar fascia which will have tightened during the night. This is the main cause of the sharp pain you feel when you take the first few steps of the day. If you still feel pain, try applying a heat pack to the arch.

FOOT FLEXES – Sit with your legs straight out in front, heels on the bed or over the edge of the bed if you want to work your abdominals as well. Point both feet down, stretching the top of the foot; reverse the action by pointing your toes to the ceiling. Keep your knees straight and work slowly and deliberately. Start with 6 to 10 repeats; progress gradually to 4 sets of 10 flexes, resting for 5 seconds between each set.

TOWEL FLEX – you will need a hand towel, folded in quarters lengthwise, or a belt, or an exercise band.

• Sit with your legs out straight in front of you, heels on the bed. Pass the towel around the ball of the foot and hold both ends. Keeping your back straight and eyes ahead, pull on the towel to flex the foot back towards you, lifting the heel slightly off the bed. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5 times, gradually increasing to 10 repeats holding the stretch for 10 seconds.

Evening stretches: do these exercises any time through the day to relieve pain and include them in your evening exercise session.

FOOT FLEXES

TOWEL FLEX

CALF STRETCH – done against a wall or a counter/desk top

• Stand facing the wall, hands on the wall at shoulder height. Put the leg to be stretched slightly back and bend the front knee. Push your hips towards the wall, feeling the stretch firmly in your calf muscles of the back leg. Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds and relax. Repeat with the other leg. Gradually increase to hold the stretch for 20 seconds with two repeats on each leg.

ICE ROLL – applying ice to your foot at the end of the day helps to relieve pain and tension. When you exercise at the same time, you get double the benefit.
Freeze water in a small soda bottle. Place the bottle on the floor, under the arch of your foot so that it is at right angles to your toes. Firmly and deliberately roll the bottle backwards and forwards under the arch to massage the ligament and ease inflammation.

Strengthening plantar fasciitis exercises

Make these part of your evening exercise session together with the stretches. Always warm up with the Foot Flex exercise.

ANKLE CIRCLES – sit on a straight-backed chair, with one knee crossed over the other, which is flat on the floor. You make slow, large circles of the ankle and foot with the free foot, concentrating on 'writing' a big circle in the air with your big toe. Start with 10 circles in a clockwise direction, rest for 5 seconds and then repeat in a counter-clockwise direction. Work up to 3 repeats of this set, with both feet.

TOE CURLS – Place a small towel flat on the floor in front of you; use your toes to pick it up, hold got 5 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times, gradually increasing to 10 times. Repeat with the other foot.

Variation 1: place six marbles and a small cup on the floor; pick the marbles up one at a time with your toes and place them in the cup.

Variation 2: use pencils or pens instead of marbles.

Establishing a regular routine of plantar fasciitis exercises will help to reduce heel pain caused by this condition. Do a set of exercises night and morning and you will experience the benefit of this effective treatment method.

 

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