In Part 1 of Pesky Plantar Fasciitis, we learned about what the condition is, what can cause or contribute to it, and some of the non-exercise-based treatment approaches. Part 2 focuses on the stretches and exercises you can do at home that are helpful in alleviating the discomfort of plantar fasciitis and preventing recurrence.

Generally, there are 3 objectives with the self-treatment of plantar fasciitis:

  • stretch the calf muscle and Achilles tendon that get tight with this condition
  • break up some of the excess scar tissue that has formed as the ligament tear begins to heal itself, and
  • strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot and the larger muscles of the outer hip to help support the medial arch. If you are curious how the muscles of the hip affect the arch, please see my post Hip Hip Hurray.1-Calf Stretch

 

Standing Calf Stretch

  • Start arm-distance away from the wall
  • Step back with the affected leg
  • Keeping the back heel on the ground, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in calf muscles of your back leg
  • Hold the stretch 30-60 seconds

 

 

Achilles Stretch2-Achilles Stretch-s

  • Standing on a step, drop the heel of your
    affected foot off the edge until your feel a gentle stretch in the back of your ankle
  • Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds

 

Plantar Fascia Massage3-Plantar Fascia Massage copy

  • Cross the ankle of the affected foot over your opposite knee
  • Pull your toes back with one hand
  • With your other hand, use your knuckles (or your thumb) to press into the fascia of the sole of your foot from the heel to the base of the toes
  • Use firm pressure (it may feel uncomfortable and that is normal)

 

Tennis Ball Rolling4-Tennis Ball Rolling-s

  • Using a tennis ball (or golf ball, or AcuBall), press the sole of your affected foot downwards

Roll the length of your foot on the ball with as firm pressure to help release the plantar fascia

 

Towel Scrunches5-Towel Scrunches-s

  • Scrunch up a towel under your foot
  • Try to avoid scrunching your toes and imagine the movement occurring more at the arch of your foot
  • You should feel some muscle burn more in the medial arch and under your foot than your toes

 

Single Leg Balance5-Single Leg Balance-s

  • Stand on a foam block on your affected foot for as long as possible
  • Spread the toes of your standing foot

* This exercise helps to both strengthen the deep muscles on the underside of your foot and work the muscles of your outer hip that work together to help maintain your foot arch

 

ClamshellsClam Shell

  • Lie on your side with the affected side up
  • Slightly angle the top hip forward to help bias this exercise to your gluteus medius muscle in the side of your bum
  • Keep your feet together but open your top knee to the ceiling using your side bum muscles to move your top leg
  • Do as many repetitions as needed to feel some muscle burn in the top hip

* This exercise helps to keep your pelvis level while standing on one leg, which improves the alignment of your knee, ankle and foot