Effective Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief

Every runner knows that running puts a certain amount of stress on their bodies. Even people who stretch properly and take good care of themselves can end up with injuries. One of the most common injuries runners have to cope with is plantar fasciitis.

If you have plantar fasciitis, there are things you can do to alleviate the pain. In this article, we’ll talk about some stretches for plantar fasciitis. Doing them can help you heal and get back to running.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The first step toward treating plantar fasciitis and relieving the pain it causes is to understand what it is. It’s a common sports injury in athletes and normal repetitive activity, but even some experienced runners may not know what is causing their pain.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when the plantar fascia – a flat band of ligaments and tissue that connects your heel to your toes – gets strained. There may be micro-tears in the fascia. The result of the tears is that the heel and arch of the foot may swell and become inflamed.

The primary causes of plantar fasciitis in runners are running on hard services such as pavement, and tightness in the calves and Achilles tendon. Other people who are on their feet all day may also be susceptible to plantar fasciitis.

The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are easy to identify. By far the most common symptom is the presence of a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of the foot. The pain is usually at its worst upon first getting out of bed in the morning.

The pain is caused by tightness in the fascia that can be exacerbated during sleep. It tends to get better after walking a few steps, although it may reappear after long periods standing or after exercise.

Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

The pain of plantar fasciitis can be severe and may sometimes prevent runners from running. However, many runners choose to continue running even when they know they have plantar fasciitis.

One thing that can help is doing stretches for plantar fasciitis. Stretching helps relieve tightness in the fascia and keep the feet healthy and free of pain.

Calf Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

The first stretch for plantar fasciitis is a calf stretch. If your calves are tight, it may put pressure on the plantar fascia and lead to a problem. Here’s how to do the stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall. You should be close enough that you can touch the wall if you stretch your arms out.
  2. Put your uninjured foot forward (or choose a foot if both are painful.)
  3. Bend your forward knee slightly.
  4. Extend the injured leg behind you so that the leg is straight and the calf muscles are stretched.
  5. Make sure the heel of your back foot is flat on the ground.
  6. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.
  7. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

You can repeat this stretch for plantar fasciitis several times a day. Keeping your calves properly stretched will help prevent the fascia from tightening and causing pain.

Toe Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

The next stretch for plantar fasciitis involves stretching the big toe which is at the other end of the plantar fascia from the heel. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched in front of you.
  2. Bring the affected foot up and cross it over the opposite leg so that your foot rests on your knee and you can reach the toes.
  3. Take your hand and use it to gently pull the toes back so that the arch of the foot is stretched out.
  4. If you wish, you can massage the fascia with your other hand to provide additional relief.

Like the first stretch, you can repeat this one several times a day. The addition of massage may help, particularly in serious cases of plantar fasciitis.

Towel Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

Another stretch for plantar fasciitis involves using a towel to stretch the heel, calf, and the arches of the feet. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched in front of you.
  2. Bring the leg you want to stretch up and fold it over your knee.
  3. Take a full-size towel and fold it lengthwise.
  4. Wrap the towel around your foot so it sits just below your toes.
  5. Extend your leg, holding on to the ends of the towel.
  6. Gently pull back on the towel so that your toes pull back toward your body and your heel pushes forward.
  7. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.

Repeat the stretch on the other foot. This is a particular good way to stretch the fascia because it includes the toes, the hell, and the calf muscles.

Morning Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

Since plantar fasciitis pain tends to be worst in the morning, it may help to do a stretch before you get out of bed. Follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet hanging down.
  2. Flex your feet so that the toes point up and slightly back toward your legs
  3. Reverse and point your toes, stretching the arches in the other direction

Repeat this stretch ten times before you stand up and walk. It should help to reduce the amount of pain you feel in your heels.

Tennis Ball Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

The final stretch you can do for plantar fasciitis involves using a tennis ball to stretch out the arch of your foot. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. While barefoot, place a tennis ball on the floor in front of you.
  2. Place the affected foot on top of the tennis ball so the ball sits under the arch of your foot.
  3. Applying gentle pressure, move your foot back and forth so that the tennis ball rolls over the arch.
  4. Continue for up to a minute on each foot.

The repetitive motion of the tennis ball helps to break up the tension in the plantar fascia and stretch the arch of the foot to relieve pain.

Conclusion

These five stretches for plantar fasciitis can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort you feel, both in the morning and throughout the day. Keep in mind that while stretching is helpful, you should also rest your foot when necessary. The fascia may need to time to heal – and if you rest, you’ll be able to get back to your running routine much sooner than you would be otherwise.