In a recent post on treating plantar fasciitis, we mentioned the importance of plantar fasciitis exercises as a means of recovering from this disease. However, we did not describe any suggested exercises in detail. In this text, we describe in detail 5 suggested plantar fasciitis exercises that will help you defeat this painful condition.
Please note that, while these exercises will usually be effective even if you pursue them to the exclusion of any of the other treatments we have suggested, they may not be sufficient in themselves. To ensure that you are pursuing the most effective means of treatment, we suggest consulting a qualified medical practitioner such as a podiatrist. He or she can help you supplement your plantar fasciitis exercises with a more supportive choice of footwear that will also help to ease the condition.
As we have stated, these exercises can reduce the pain of your plantar fasciitis. However, they can also be beneficial to those who are not presently suffering from plantar fasciitis. If you include them as part of a stretching routine before your workouts, they can also help to reduce the risk of getting this unpleasant disease in the first place.
Suggested Plantar Fasciitis Exercises
We now suggest 5 stretching routines that will help to ease the pain of plantar fasciitis. Many of these exercises aim to stretch and strengthen the gastrocnemius muscle that runs along the calf. Other exercises that similarly target this muscle can also be effectively used to treat your plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Exercise # 1 – Wall Stretches
These are among the most popular exercises performed to combat plantar fasciitis. To perform wall stretches, follow these directions:
- Stand approximately one arm’s length away from a wall;
- Position your right foot in line with and behind your left;
- Bend your left leg forward gradually and gently, while keeping your right knee straightened and your right heel flat on the ground;
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Release and repeat 3-4 times;
- Reverse your leg positions and repeat.
Please see the featured image of this text for an illustration of these plantar fasciitis exercises. As your plantar fasciitis symptoms start to recede, you can increase the intensity of this exercise by keeping your legs slightly bent. One caution – avoid holding the stretches for too long or they may become counter productive.
Dynamic Foot Stretches
To perform dynamic foot stretches, repeatedly roll your bare foot over a small metal or plastic can, a foam roller or even a tennis sized ball. Do this exercise while you are sitting. After doing this for a few minutes with one foot, you should switch to the other.
For additional pain relief, try using a plastic bottle with frozen water or a can that has been left in the freezer until cold. This will combine the benefits of cold therapy with those of the exercise itself.
Use Towel Stretch Exercises To Ease Your Plantar Fasciitis
To perform towel stretch exercises and ease your plantar fasciitis, do the following:
- Fold a towel or soft cloth lengthwise until it forms a provisional exercise strap;
- Sit and position the folded towel under the arches of one foot;
- Hold the towel ends firmly, one in each hand, and bend your toes up towards you;
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then repeat 3-4 times;
- Repeat the exercise with the towel positioned under the other foot.
Like many of the exercises we discuss in this text, this one targets your calf muscles:
- Stand on a set of stairs so that only your toes and 2-3 inches at the front of each foot are on the stairs. Hold the bannister for support throughout this exercise.
- Gently allow your heels to fall below the level of the stair on which you are standing and allow your calf muscles to relax at the same time;
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds;
- Tighten your calf muscles enough to raise your heel back to the level of the stair step;
- Repeat 2-4 times.
Use Your Toes To Pick Up Marbles
For the fifth of the plantar fasciitis exercises we discuss in this article, place some marbles on the floor next to a cup. Then try to pick up the marbles by holding them between your toes and the rest of your foot and drop them into the cup. Do this for 2-4 marbles and then repeat for the other affected foot.
Although the exercises we discuss above will be helpful in the vast majority of plantar fasciitis cases, you should ask your doctor if your case is severe enough to also require other treatments.