The strong tissue bands which connect your heels to your toes are known as the plantar fascia. An injury, sprain, or overuse of this tissue can lead to painful inflammation which is a condition referred to as plantar fasciitis. This is a common problem that is seen in people with obesity and people who are athletes and are prone to get tissue injuries due to overuse. (1) People suffering from plantar fasciitis have found different foot stretches and other related exercises to be rather helpful in getting effective relief from the pain.(2) These stretches and exercises not only help to soothe the pain but also improve the flexibility and strength of your foot muscle.
5 Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Let us take a look at some of the simple stretches that can help to improve your condition and show steady improvement of your symptoms in time.
Calf Muscle Stretch
Plantar fasciitis gets worsened with muscle tightness of your calves and feet. Hence, loosening the muscles in these areas can help to relieve the traumatic pain in a very helpful manner. People who are suffering from this condition can try practicing these stretches following the below-mentioned steps:(1, 2)
- To begin with, stand two feet away from a wall facing the wall.
- Place your right foot approximately one foot closer to the wall; this puts your left foot behind the right foot.
- Both feet must be kept flatly on the ground where your entire foot sole will be touching the ground.
- Stretch your hands and take support of the wall.
- Keep the left leg stretched and firm on the ground while bending the left knee slightly and moving the trunk a bit forward towards the wall.
- Hold the position for 15-30 seconds.
- Continue the same process for the other knee as well.
- Repeat it three times in a single cycle and continue doing it two times a day.
Rolling Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis
This is a simple exercise where you need to place a round object like a ball under the affected foot and you must roll it forward and back. This will help to loosen the muscles of your foot in due time. You can use a golf ball or rolling pin or specialized rollers made out of foam for this exercise. These accessories are easily available in stores providing sports goods. You can get them from retailers as well as online brands. You can also use frozen water bottles to roll under your feet. This method can be particularly helpful as the cold bottle surface can also help to reduce inflammation. You need to sit on a chair to do this exercise and you must continue with the exercise for at least 2 to 3 minutes in a stretch. Practice about two lapses of the stretches in a day.(1)
Seated Foot Stretch Exercise for Plantar Fasciitis
Seated foot stretch can be particularly helpful in relieving muscle tightness in the context of plantar fasciitis if done regularly:(2)
- As the name of the exercise indicates you need to sit on the chair to do this particular exercise. You must cross the injured foot over the opposite leg which is not affected.
- You need to pull the toes in the direction of the shin so that tension is created in the arch of your foot.
- In the next step place a hand on the bottom of the affected foot so that you can feel the tension of the plantar fascia.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise three times in a single lapse. Practice two to three such lapses in a day.
Towel Curls for Plantar Fasciitis
In this exercise take a clean cloth or hand towel with the tools. It can be rather helpful in stretching the muscles of your foot and calf. This can be particularly beneficial for those people who can practice the stretches before their walking sessions or soon after completing the tasks of the morning. Follow the below-mentioned steps to practice this exercise:(3)
- You need to practice this exercise sitting on a chair with both your feet kept flat on the ground and a small towel kept in front of the feet.
- In the next step, you must cross the towel from the centre with the toes.
- Use your toes to curl the towel towards the heels.
- Next, relax your feet and repeat the action 5 times in a single lapse.
- Practice two to three such lapses in a day.
Marble Pick-up Practice Exercise for Plantar Fasciitis
This is yet again one of the exercises done for flexing your calf muscles and stretching your feet muscles. The following steps can be observed to do this exercise:(4)
- This exercise is to be done in a seated position; to begin with, you should sit down on a chair with your knees bent and both your feet placed flat on the ground.
- In the next step, you must put a handful of marbles on the floor in front of your feet.
- Use your toes to pick up one marble at a time, and curl your toes around these marbles to pick them up and keep them aside.
- Through a single round, there have to be about 20 marbles, all of which need to be picked up one at a time.
- Practice a couple of such lapses in a day.
On a concluding note, it can be said that the condition of plantar fasciitis can be quite painful. The pain originating from this condition is a throbbing sensation that happens to be worse in the mornings and after a lapse of standing for a long time. Practicing the above-mentioned exercises will help get considerable relief from the throbbing pain as well as inflammation over time. However, no overnight improvement must be expected and you must have realistic expectations ahead of you. (3, 4) These exercises will help you in the long run and provide you with much respite from the condition. These exercises are safe for people of all age groups and can be conducted on a long-term basis. In case your pain does not improve, visit a doctor right away.