How You Can Manage Your Pain Better with Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
There are a lot of ways that you can improve and manage your PF. Your doctor might have some specific treatments that he or she is recommending, but it is likely that some form of physical therapy that you can do yourself is recommended as well. Stretching is a great way to get pain relief, but it is also a treatment that you can use as preventative medicine.
Most people never think very much about their plantar fascia muscle, but when you have pain from that particular part of your body, it can be difficult to forget. The Plantar Fascia is a narrow ligament that attaches the heel of your foot to the front. For quite a few people, this section of tissue can give them trouble at some point in their life.
How Does Plantar Fasciitis Happen?
Plantar Fasciitis is known as “Jogger’s Heel” for a very good reason. It is running, particularly repetitive running, that causes this condition. This is especially true when outside factors are added in like extra weight or other exacerbating issues. Pregnant woman are especially at risk for PF because their feet aren’t used to the extra weight that they begin gathering during pregnancy, and they might continue their normal activities without making allowances for the weight change. Also, the added weight (on both pregnant woman and people who gain weight in general) on the injured ligament can cause even more related pain, as well as inflammation.
The actual injury of Plantar Fasciitis is the tiny tearing of the plantar fascia ligament or inflammation of the tissue. The good news is that there are quite a few things that can manage and reduce PF pain. One of those treatments is plantar fasciitis stretching.
Why Stretching is a Good Idea
A Plantar Fascia stretch is beneficial because when muscles get too tight they can exacerbate the pain that you feel. The purpose of the stretch is to loosen up those muscles and hopefully reduce or eliminate the specific pain that you are feeling. However, if you do these stretches regularly, you might be able to prevent the pain from happening in the first place. Here are some specific stretches and related exercises that have been shown to help Plantar Fasciitis.
General Stretch Instructions
You want to keep doing each of these stretches for about thirty seconds, and you want to use steady, slightly increasing pressure, without bouncing your stretch. You want to do 2-3 repetitions of the stretch maybe three times a day for each exercise.
Stand with one foot in front of the other so that you can feel pressure on your back calf muscle when you lean forward slightly. Move your hips and slowly stretch out the calf muscles. Make sure that you do both legs with this exercise.
Another calf exercise can be to sit on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Lean forward and grab ahold of your toes. If you need to you can bend your knees a little so that you can grasp your toes. Pull your toes inward until you feel the arch of your foot (the curved bottom part) start to stretch out. Stretch one foot first and then the other.
Finally, you can strengthen your arch muscles by putting a towel on the floor and then pulling it toward you with your toes. Do this one foot at a time until you feel pressure on your arch and then switch.
Finding Time For Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
You may not have enough time each day to do these stretches and still get everything that you wanted to get done accomplished, but if you can’t do each plantar fascia stretch, at least do the calf exercise. Here is an alternative way to do this exercise: a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it properly.
- First, stand about a foot from a wall.
- Next, put the edge of your toes touching the wall on either your right or left foot.
- Now, put the other foot behind the first one.
- Put your palms on the wall, even with your chest.
- Bend the back leg slowly and gently while keeping the front leg straight, and the heel flat on the ground
- You will feel the stretch in your calf. Try to hold it at a level you can manage for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Switch legs and do it again. Do this at least twice per day if it is the only stretch you’re planning to do.
Some Other Exercises You Can Do to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
You can do calf stretching as described here, even first thing in the morning you can do a calf stretch before you get out of bed, because sometimes the cycle of pain begins with the first few steps. So, to break that cycle, try to stretch your calf in bed. Use the towel method where you wrap it around the top of your foot and pull.
Another effective stretch that you can do to prevent this condition is to grab your toes and put them up with your hand until you feel the ball of your foot start to stretch out. Try to hold this position for around thirty seconds.
You can also do massage to stretch out the ball of your foot and loosen that ligament. You might want to pay for a professional massage, but if you can’t or don’t want to spend the money, a fairly effective way to get that tissue loosened up is to put a tennis ball, or any rubber ball that resembles a tennis ball and roll it with your foot gently. Increase the pressure as much as is necessary to get a deep tissue massage. You might also try an ice massage, where you freeze a bottle of water and then roll it under your foot with gentle pressure as described with the tennis ball. This can help with the inflammation and reduce your pain. There are also pain medications called NSAIDs that reduce inflammation. Ibuprofen is a common NSAID.
Below are a few stretching videos we found to be very helpful: