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
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
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.
CALF STRETCH – done against a wall or a counter/desk
• 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
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