Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common foot conditions we help treat in our office, and it’s one of those foot ailments that tends to respond well to aggressive conservative care. What we mean by that is although rest is important for helping treat plantar fasciitis, so too is targeted physical therapy performed on a regular basis.
Your foot specialist can walk you through some therapy and stretching techniques if you have plantar fasciitis, but we were recently approached by our friends at SportyDoctor.com to see if they could share some of their tips on our website. You can see their full list of 10 stretches for treating plantar fasciitis on their blog, but we’re also going to share half their list on here for our readers. So check out these five plantar fascia stretches, and be sure to swing over to SportyDoctor.com for more information about sports medicine and injury care.
Plantar Fascia Stretches
Here’s a look at five stretches you can do to help treat discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis.
1. Water Bottle Roll – Take a room temperature water bottle or a wear socks if you take one out of the fridge and place is horizontally on the ground. Sit in a chair and roll your foot back and forth over the water bottle. This stretch helps to engage your plantar fascia and your intrinsic foot muscles.
2. Wall Calf Stretches – Stand facing a wall, bend your knees a little and reach one leg back behind you, keeping your heel on the ground. Push against the wall and you should begin to feel your calf muscles stretching. Hold the position for 15-20 seconds and then switch legs. This stretch will help strengthen and engage your calf muscles, your Achilles tendon and your plantaris muscle.
3. Heel Lifts – Stand behind a chair with your arms on the back of the chair. Press up onto the front of your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Slowly slower yourself down after holding the position for a second or two. Do 10-15 lifts and then take a break. This will help relax your calf muscles, your Achilles, your plantaris muscle and your plantar fascia.
4. Step Up Arch Extensions – This stretch helps if your plantar fasciitis is due in part to fallen arches. Stand with the ball of your foot on the edge of a stair, then lower your heel off the edge of the stair until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, as this will help stretch your posterior tibial tendon, plantar fascia, your calf and your Achilles tendon.
5. Sideways Leg Lifts – For the final stretch, lay on your side and perform sideways scissors lifts with your top leg. Do this 10-15 times, then rotate onto your other hip and perform the stretch with your other leg. This will help strengthen your hip flexors and thigh muscles, which can alter the way you distribute weight to your feet, and in turn help with your plantar fasciitis. This also helps engage your glutes, your psoas major and other important structures in your hips.