Plantar Fasciitis: 6 Beneficial Exercises

Severe heel pain? You could be suffering from plantar fasciitis, which affects close to 10% of the Canadian population, and is the second-leading cause of foot pain.

Plantar fasciitis is an injury to the fibrous band at the arch of the foot, which results in the swelling of thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. Risk factors include foot arch problems, obesity or sudden weight gain, repetitive loading, tight Achilles tendons, or shoes with poor arch support.

Treatment options vary according to symptoms, but the most common solution is custom orthotics, prescribed and dispensed by a licensed practitioner, which in Canada include podiatrists, chiropodists, chiropractors, pedorthists, and physiotherapists.

Besides custom prescription orthotics, these plantar fasciitis exercises can help get you back on your feet.

Exercise 1: Relax the plantar fascia with a ball.

Duration: 2 to 3 minutes
Frequency: once a day
Procedure: Massage the bottom of the foot — from the heel to the beginning of the toes — by rolling it on a ball. Perform in a seated position and exert a minimum of pressure.

Plantar Fasciitis

Exercise 2: Stretch the Plantar Fascia.

Duration: 2 to 3 minutes

Frequency : 1 time per day, to be repeated 2 to 3 times with each foot
Procedure: Press the ball of the foot and the toes against a flat surface and keep the heel on the ground to create an angle of approximately 90 degrees. The stretch must be tolerable and maintained for 30 seconds.
Plantar Fasciitis

Exercise 3: Stretch the posterior chain in two stages.

Total duration : 6 minutes
Stage 1: Place one foot close to the wall and place the foot of the leg to be stretched behind you. Your toes should point towards the wall and your forearms pressed against it. Keep your back knee extended (straightened). You should then feel a stretch in your calf. To accentuate this stretch, step your back leg further back. Make sure to keep your pelvis facing the wall.
Frequency : once a day, to be repeated 3 X 30 seconds on each side.

Plantar Fasciitis

Stage 2: Place the leg to be stretched close to the wall and step the opposite leg back. Try to touch the wall with your knee, keeping your toes straight. The stretch should be felt in the calf of the leg touching the wall. To accentuate it, move the foot away from the wall a few centimeters and repeat the exercise.
Frequency : once a day, to be repeated 3 X 30 seconds on each side.

Plantar Fasciitis

Exercise 4: Self-mobilization of the heel.

Duration: 1 to 2 minutes
Frequency: twice a day.
Procedure: Place the heel of the injured foot on the ground. Lift the front of the foot slightly, trying to trace the number 8 with your heel. The heel must remain in contact with the ground at all times.

Exercise 5: Re-train the muscles of the arch.

Duration: variable
Frequency: 5 to 10 contractions, 3 times a day.
In a seated position, place the foot on the ground while relaxing it. The weight should be even between the heel and the big toe. Press your four “little” toes to the ground and try to lift your big toe. Check with your fingers if the contraction is at the level of the internal arch. The toes on the ground should grip the surface as little as possible. Over time, perform this exercise in a standing position or on a pillow or soft disc. This increases the level of difficulty.

Plantar Fasciitis

Exercise no. 6: balance on one leg.

Duration: about 3 minutes
Frequency : 30 seconds on each leg 2 to 3 times.
Procedure: While standing on a thick pillow, balance on one leg. Challenge: Hold the posture for as long as possible by controlling the movement.

Plantar Fasciitis

General Tips:
Wear closed shoes with good arch support and avoid walking barefoot or in sandals for a while. Massage the bottom of your foot with frozen water bottle (500ml).

See how we design our Pathology-Specific Planter Fasciitis Devices, or speak with your doctor about the best options for custom orthotics.

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