One of the most common foot problems we see as podiatrists is plantar fasciitis, with 7 out of 10 Americans suffering from it within their lifetime, it’s not hard to find someone with a story of pain resulting from this problem. While the causes of plantar fasciitis vary from improper shoe gear, excessive pronation (turning inward of the foot) while walking, overuse injuries, and many more, the treatment for it usually start the same, with some at home physical therapy. Let’s look at some of the most helpful stretches for alleviating plantar fasciitis pain.
The Towel Pickup
This stretch aim to strengthen the intrinsic muscles around the plantar fascia, providing it more support. While sitting place your foot on top of a hand towel. Scrunch the towel towards you with your toes, then use your toes to push the towel away again. This should be repeated for 2 to 3 minutes per session, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
Frozen Water Bottle Roll
This stretch does double duty for your plantar fasciitis, it both stretches out the plantar fascia as well as reducing painful inflammation. First freeze a water bottle. While seated, roll your arch over the frozen bottle for up to 20 minutes (no longer though, as it can cause frostbite). Wait at least 20 minutes before repeating. Repeat 2 to 3 times per day.
Heel Cord Stretch
Sit with your legs extended and your knees straight. Place a bath towel on the foot right below the toes. Hold both ends of the towel in your hands, with your hands above your knees. Gently pull the towel so that your foot stretches back towards you. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times per session, with up to 5 sessions per day.
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch a step behind the other leg. Keeping your heel on the ground bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 2-4 times per session, and up to 3 sessions per day.
You should see positive improvement with your plantar fasciitis symptoms within two weeks of starting these daily stretching exercises. If you don’t experience a decrease in pain, or only a small reduction in pain, then you may be suffering from a more advanced case of plantar fasciitis. If this is the case you should seek out the help of your local podiatrist, they have many effective treatments to help you get back to loving your feet!