Any treatment prescribed by a foot care specialist to relieve plantar fasciitis discomfort should attempt to alleviate foot pain and restore the arch of the foot to optimal function. One possible treatment option is performing stretching exercises.
Note that the following stretching exercises are designed for both the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon.
1. Plantar Fascia and Achilles Tendon Stretch (Perform once per day, first thing in the morning):
- While still in bed, take either a towel or wide piece of elastic and loop it around the ball of the foot.
- Keeping your knees straight, pull the toes up towards your nose.
- Hold the stretch for a total of thirty seconds, and then relax.
- Repeat this exercise three times with each foot.
2. Wall Stretches for Achilles Tendon (Perform twice each day):
Initially, this set of exercises should be performed with the back knee straight. Then, repeat the exercises with the back knee bent so that both parts of the Achilles tendon are stretched equally.
- Go to a wall.
- Put both hands on the wall, at approximately shoulder height. Place one foot in front of the other. The front foot should be about twelve inches (i.e. thirty centimeters) away from the wall.
- Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight.
- Lean towards the wall until the calf of the back leg feels tight.
- Ease off the stretch. Relax.
- Repeat this ten times.
- Bring the back foot forward so that the back knee bends slightly.
- Repeat the stretch an additional ten times.
3. Plantar Fascia and Achilles Tendon Stair Stretches (Perform at least twice per day):
- Find a set of stairs and step on the bottom step.
- Hold onto the railing for support.
- Spread your legs apart slightly.
- Position both feet so that the heels are hanging off the end of the bottom step.
- Lower both heels.
- Keep both knees straight until you feel the calf muscles tighten.
- Hold this position for twenty seconds to a minute.
- Return the heels back to the neutral position. Relax.
- Repeat this exercise six times.
4. Plantar Fascia Dynamic Stretches (Perform at least twice per day):
For this particular set of exercises, you will need to utilize a can, tennis ball or rolling pin, and a straight-backed chair.
- When you are in a standing position, hold the back of the chair for support.
- If you prefer, sit on the chair instead.
- Roll the arch of the foot over one of the abovementioned objects.
- Allow the ankle and foot to move in different directions over the object.
- Continue this rolling action for a few minutes until some discomfort is felt in the foot. Relax.
- If plantar fasciitis is present in both feet, repeat these movements with the other foot.
- Any discomfort can be relieved by icing the foot after completing the exercises.
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