How do I Choose the Best Plantar Fasciitis Exercises?

Sheri Cyprus

The best exercises for plantar fasciitis are done before getting out of bed in the morning. The plantar fascia is the connecting fiber between the heel and the toes. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this fiber. The pain of the condition is often worse at the beginning of the day, so stretching the affected plantar fascia while still in bed can help prepare the foot for less painful standing and walking.

Rolling a tennis ball under the feet can help treat plantar fasciitis.
Rolling a tennis ball under the feet can help treat plantar fasciitis.

It's a good idea to first massage the foot affected with plantar fasciitis before doing any stretching exercises. The affected foot can then be stretched out and gently rolled at the ankle either while laying down or sitting at the edge of the bed. One of the most popular plantar fasciitis exercises is to place each hand on the ends of a wide belt or a folded towel or scarf and place the middle, or ball, of the foot in the center. After pulling the belt, towel or scarf gently, a stretch should be felt on the foot and leg. The ankle should be bent gently back with the stretch, held for a few seconds before repeating the movement five to 10 times.

Applying ice to a heel may reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
Applying ice to a heel may reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Another great plantar fasciitis exercise that can be done while sitting on the edge of the bed is to stretch the foot out on the floor and roll a soda can or tennis ball under it. Movements that gently stretch the heels and toes should be used while the ball or can is being rolled under the bottom of the foot. Care should be taken to roll the can or bar right up to the tips of the toes before using a backward motion all the way to the back of the heel.

Plantar fasciitis often causes feet to hurt in the morning.
Plantar fasciitis often causes feet to hurt in the morning.

If it's necessary to leave the bed before doing morning plantar fasciitis exercises, such as to walk to the bathroom, the affected foot should at least be massaged for several minutes. Doing this can help avoid jarring foot tendons when standing suddenly. It's also important to wear supportive-soled slippers, sandals or shoes when moving around the home, rather than walking barefoot.

It's a good idea to massage a foot affected by plantar fasciitis before doing any stretching exercises.
It's a good idea to massage a foot affected by plantar fasciitis before doing any stretching exercises.

One of the best standing type of plantar fasciitis exercises is to place the hands on a wall. The affected foot should then be moved a step backward. With that foot firmly flat on the floor, the other one should be moved a step forward. The calf and ankle can then be stretched by holding the move for 20 to 30 seconds before stopping and repeating the stretch about seven to 10 times.

The plantar fascia is the connecting tissue between the heel and the toes.
The plantar fascia is the connecting tissue between the heel and the toes.

Swimming is an excellent sports activity for people with plantar fasciitis because the water serves as a buffer against undue stress on the feet. Gentle warm-up stretches that include the feet should be done before any sports activity to help prevent conditions such as plantar fasciitis as well as reduce the pain caused by them. Sports medicine professionals and physical therapists can suggest many different plantar fasciitis exercises that strengthen and stretch the affected foot.

In addition to exercises, a podiatrist may recommend prescription orthotics to relieve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
In addition to exercises, a podiatrist may recommend prescription orthotics to relieve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

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