One of the most effective treatment options for plantar Fasciitis is stretching. Tightness if the Achilles tension and the calf muscles, increases the prevalence of plantar Fasciitis. This is due to tightening in these muscles, which increases dorsiflexion (upward movement) of the large toe and stretches the plantar fascia causing it to inflame.
1. Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretch
First thing in the morning, loop a towel, a piece of elastic or a tubigrip around the ball of your foot and, keeping your knee straight, pull your toes towards your nose, holding for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times for each foot.
2. Wall push-ups or stretches for Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon comes from the muscles at the back of your thigh and your calf muscles. These exercises need to be performed first with the knee straight and then with the knee bent in order to stretch both parts of the Achilles tendon. Twice a day do the following wall push-ups or stretches: (a) Face the wall, put both hands on the wall at shoulder height, and stagger the feet (one foot in front of the other). The front foot should be approximately 30 cm (12 inches) from the wall. With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, lean into the stretch (i.e. towards the wall) until a tightening is felt in the calf of the back leg, and then ease off. Repeat 10 times. (b) Now repeat this exercise but bring the back foot forward a little so that the back knee is slightly bent. Repeat the push-ups 10 times.
3. Stair stretches for Achilles tendon and plantar fascia
Holding the stair-rail for support, with legs slightly apart, position the feet so that both heels are off the end of the step. Lower the heels, keeping the knees straight, until a tightening is felt in the calf. Hold this position for 20-60 seconds and then raise the heels back to neutral. Repeat 6 times, at least twice a day.
4. Dynamic stretches for plantar fascia
This involves rolling the arch of the foot over a tennis ball or a heel pain massager etc, while either standing (holding the back of a chair for support) or sitting. Allow the foot and ankle to move in all directions over the object. This can be done for a few minutes until there is some discomfort. Repeat this exercise at least twice a day. The discomfort can be relieved by rolling the foot on a cool drinks can from the fridge.
5. Pen Roll and Alphabet Exercise
Place a pen on the floor and try to pick the pen up curling all your toes around the pen. Once you have the pen hold for 5 seconds and repeat. Also spell out the alphabet with your large toe, repeat 3 times for each foot. Both exercises help to focus the stretch of the plantar fascia and promote healing.
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