5 Stretches & Exercises to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

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Chronic heel pain can make life difficult since it impacts your ability to comfortably walk. While you should certainly see your podiatrist for cases of plantar fasciitis, there are some stretches and exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home to help alleviate some of the pain.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Sometimes referred to as policeman’s heel, plantar fasciitis is inflammatory pain that occurs in the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.


What Exercises Are Good For Plantar Fasciitis?

Most commonly found in middle-aged adults, plantar fasciitis is something you can treat at home with the help of your foot doctor (or podiatrist). There are several exercises to prevent plantar fasciitis and help reduce inflammatory pain.


1. Calf Stretches

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Calf stretches can loosen up tight muscles (especially the gastrocnemius muscle) through the calves and feet and can be done any place where there is a wall to steady yourself. When you’re ready, follow these steps:

  • Stand arm’s-length from the wall.
  • Put your right foot behind your left.
  • Bend your left leg forward with ease.
  • Keep your right knee straight and right ankle firmly grounded.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then release. Repeat three times.
  • Repeat this stretch on the opposite foot.


2. Seated Plantar Fascia Stretches

You can do some seated stretched to increase flexibility in your plantar fascia. All you need is a chair that you can sit up straight in.

For the first stretch:

  • Roll your foot back and forth over a foam roller or similar object for at least a minute.
  • Switch to the other foot and repeat.

For the second stretch:

  • Set your big foot on your lap.
  • Grab your big toe and pull gently toward you.
  • Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  • Repeat on opposite foot.

For the third stretch:

  • Place a folded towel underneath the arches of both feet.
  • Gently pull your feet toward you and hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.


3. Step Stretch

You can improve flexibility in your calf Achilles’ tendon by standing on either an actual step (the bottom step of a staircase only) or stair-stepper and doing the following:

  • Keep your heel planted while pressing your toes downward.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, release, and do 10 reps on each foot.


4. Towel Curls

Another easy seated exercise involving a towel is towel curls. To do these, follow these steps:

  • Put a small towel on the floor, then put your foot on the towel.
  • Scrunch the towel toward you with your toes, then extend back out. Do 10 reps on each foot.


5. Doming

To work pressure out of the arch, try doing this simple exercise:

  • Stand and press your toes downward, keeping your heel planted.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, release, and do 10 reps on each foot.


If these exercises don’t seem to help or if you have further concerns, you should contact your foot doctor to see what your next step should be in treating your pain and inflammation from plantar fasciitis.


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