Plantar fasciitis: Stretches for the feet

Foot pain, Stretching (Active Isolated method) / Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Self-treatment for plantar fasciitis is usually involves rest, icing, massage and stretching. Ice massage with a can of frozen juice combines two of these. Grooved rollers are available or try a rolling pin. Applying pressure to the deep spaces and specific muscles is effectively done by stepping on a golf ball or Knobble (see my Amazon store in the sidebar to the right). Be gentle. You can also use a tennis ball or Omni Massage Roller to roll back and forth (available in my store). The only stretch usually given is one for the achilles tendon. Here are some other effective stretches.

1) Long muscle stretch: While seated, place your heel on your chair seat or on a stool, or place the ankle of the effected foot on the opposite knee. Dorsiflex your ankle by bringing your foot closer to your shin bone. Continue to actively dorsiflex as you pull your foot closer to stretch the long muscles in the back of the lower leg. Exhale and hold the stretch for two seconds. Relax your ankle and repeat the stretch 10 times.

2) Short muscle stretch: Now dorsiflex your ankle actively again and pull your toes back this time to bring them closer to the top of your foot. Hold for two seconds, relax and repeat. This stretches both long and short muscles effectively.

3) Individual toe stretch: Be even more specific by stretching each individual toe backward.

4) Between-the-toe stretch: Stretch the muscles between the bones of your foot by spreading each pair of toes apart with your fingers. Maximum stretch will be attained by stretching one toe diagonally downward and outward as the toe next to it is stretched diagonally upward and outward. Alternate back and forth, stretching slowly and gently.

5) Great toe stretch: Pay special attention the the great toe, stretching it in all directions.