Skip to main content
Asked a question 2 years ago

How do I stretch my foot which has plantar fasciitis?

Where am I?

In Upgraid you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

You probably never thought much about your plantar fascia until the pain in your heel jolted you. A thin ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot, the plantar fascia, can be a trouble spot for many people. Heel pain affects more than 50 percent of Americans, and the most common cause is plantar fasciitis. Repetitive motion from running or step aerobics, or added pressure from weight gain can damage or tear the plantar fascia, causing inflammation and pain. 

Find more information here 

Along with runners, plantar fasciitis is common among pregnant women because the extra weight on the ligament can cause inflammation, leading to pain. If you have heel pain, don’t be discouraged. There are simple steps you can take to ease the pain so that you can resume running or another exercise. 

Stretching solutions 

Taut muscles in your feet or calves aggravate plantar fasciitis. Soothe or prevent the pain with some of these easy stretches recommended by personal trainer and triathlete Deborah Lynn Irmas of Santa Monica, CA. Irmas is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She endured bouts of plantar fasciitis after overtraining with too many sprints. This stretching routine, which she practices and recommends to her clients, keeps her free of heel pain. 

Stretch your calves 

Stand an arm’s length from a wall. 
Place your right foot behind your left. 
Slowly and gently bend your left leg forward. 
Keep your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground. 
Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times. 
Reverse the position of your legs, and repeat. 
This stretch targets the gastrocnemius muscle in your calf. As your plantar fascia begins to heal and the pain diminishes, you can deepen this stretch by performing it with both legs slightly bent, says Irmas. Done this way, the stretch loosens the soleus muscle in the lower calf. Irmas cautions that it’s important not to hold the stretches for too long. 

Grab a chair and stretch your plantar fascia 

These three seated stretching exercises will also help relieve plantar fasciitis. Remember to sit up straight while you do them: 

While seated, roll your foot back and forth over a frozen water bottle, ice-cold can, or foam roller. Do this for one minute and then switch to the other foot. 
Next, cross one leg over the other for the big toe stretch. Grab your big toe, pull it gently toward you, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Do this three times, then reverse and do the same with the other foot. 
For the third seated exercise, fold a towel lengthwise to make an exercise strap. Sit down, and place the folded towel under the arches of both feet. Grab the ends of the towel with both hands, and gently pull the tops of your feet toward you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat three times.Not only can these stretches help to reduce heel pain, but doing them faithfully before your workout “absolutely can prevent plantar fasciitis,” says Irmas.

Plantar fasciitis can be tough at times and needs proper and steady treatment. Luckily there are various kinds of little helpers, like ankle sleeves, massage balls etc. that can help you getting rid of the pain. Stretching is definitely an important part of dealing with plantar fasciitis. But it’s not only your foot that needs stretches. I recommend starting with calf stretches first. The calf plays an important role and can alleviate the pain significantly. Stretching the plantar fascia with a tennis ball or water bottle can be beneficial as well. You should consult a doctor or physio if your pain persists, though. I found a great article explaining some really good stretches and treatments that you can do by yourself. Make sure to check it out here

The plantar fascia is in someway a continuation of your Achilles' tendon. So start by performing stretches for your calf muscles. Additionally, you can stretch he bottom of your foot by first locking your knee straight, then pout your toes to your nose. Assist by pulling your big toe to your nose with your hand. You can actually feel the long band of the fascia. 
Additionally rolling your foot over a hard ball (ie lacrosse) or frozen water bottle helps to stretch out the fascia.

You could perform a host of exercises to relieve plantar fasciitis pain – golf ball roll, ice therapy and calf stretches. 

But before trying out any form of treatment, it is always a good idea to run it by a foot and ankle specialist first. 

A golf ball roll, as the name suggests, involves rolling your foot on a golf ball for 2–5 minutes. You can either start from the front of the foot and gently make your way to the heel, or roll the ball directly under the arch of the foot. 

Alternatively, rolling your foot (front to back) on an ice-cold water bottle can help in easing foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis. 

You can use a towel to perform calf stretches by placing it around the ball of the foot while sitting down and gently pulling it with both hands for five seconds, 4–5 times. 

While these exercises can be beneficial in providing pain-relief, they represent a short-term solution for the condition. 

Plantar fasciitis is most often caused by flat feet. When the foot lacks a sufficient arch, it ends up flattening on to the ground, causing the plantar fascia ligament to stretch beyond its normal capacity. 

This leads to inflammation of the ligament over time which manifests in the form of pain and discomfort across the bottom of the foot. 

MASS4D® foot orthotics can provide the support needed by the feet to prevent the arch from collapsing. This helps to minimise overstretching of the plantar fascia, giving it time to heal and recover.

Stretching and strengthening exercises can help the ligament become more flexible and can strengthen muscles that support the arch, in turn reducing stress on the ligament. ... Exercises for plantar fasciitis may be especially helpful for reducing heel pain when you first get out of bed. Placing a tennis ball on the ground and gently rolling it under foot for a few minutes can help loosen up your plantar fascia, making it much less likely to become irritated. Put enough pressure on the ball to get a deep massage. You may feel some soreness, but back off if you feel any pain. Go to my Profile and you can find all Plantar Fasciitis material there...

General caveats: 
1. If pain does not reduce or gets worse, stop whatever you are doing and see a doctor; 
2. Stay away from silly cures that people may try to sell to you.