Plantar fasciitis is the most commonly occurring heel pain seen in athletes, dancers, obese people, and pregnant women. The thick band of tissues at the bottom of your feet gets inflamed, causing severe pain, which is usually felt on the inside of the heel. The pain is also felt along the arch of the feet and along the border of the heel. The sufferer also feels a stabbing pain, especially in the morning as the plantar fascia tightens up. The pain reduces as the tissues stretch, but it may worsen if you stand, walk, or run.
There are many foot stretches that you can try to loosen up your heel muscles. Routine stretches are very important to heal this condition. This stretching increases the flexibility of the Achilles tendons. Exercises for this condition focus on stretching the calf muscles as well as the plantar fascia. They can be carried out whenever you experience pain.
Before starting any stretches, it is always better to warm up. The easiest way to do this is to walk up and down the stairs. Once you have warmed up, try some of the following stretching exercises after consulting your doctor or physician.
- Stand two feet away from the wall and leaning against it. Now, bend on one leg comfortably and straighten the other leg. Place the straightened leg about 6 inches behind you, with the heel firmly on the floor. Hold this position for about ten seconds. Feel the stretch in your Achilles tendon in the straightened leg. Switch legs and repeat the same exercise 20 times.
- Sit in a chair with your heel placed on the seat of your chair. You can even place the painful heel on the knee of the opposite leg. Now, dorsiflex your ankle by slowly bringing the foot closer to the shin bone. Continue the dorsiflex and feel the stretch in the long muscles in the back of the lower leg. Hold this position for two minutes and relax the ankle. Repeat 10 times.
- Stretch the muscles between the bones of your foot. Spread the pair of toes with your fingers. Stretch the toes by pulling one toe upward diagonally and one toe outward. Alternate the stretch back and forth, slowly and gently.
- You can also stand on a ledge on your toes, holding on for some support to keep your balance. Now, with your toes on the ledge, drop your heel towards the ground. The muscles in the back of your heel will stretch. Relax and continue stretching the heel towards the ground.
The following exercises should be done early in the morning, as they will help you get cured soon. Try the belt stretch exercise to relieve the pain. Take a belt that is wide enough and hold each end in one hand. The belt's center should be placed on the ball of the foot. Now, keeping your knee straight, pull your ankle towards you using the belt, and the muscles in your front leg. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise for another 10 minutes.
Another exercise is to sit on a chair with your back straight. Place a tennis ball under your foot and roll it back and forth under the foot. The entire foot should move over the ball.
Consult your physician before trying any of the stretches as a treatment for plantar fasciitis. There are many pain killers, foot pads, and night splints that the doctor may advice for treating the heel pain. Try these stretches and exercises early in the morning. With a little bit of patience, you will surely be cured of this painful condition.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.