Plantar Fasciitis: Strength Exercises & Stretches

Plantar Fasciitis: Strength Exercises & Stretches

Recovering from Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common and often persistent kind of repetitive strain injury afflicting runners, walkers, and nearly anyone who stands for a living. It causes mainly foot arch pain and/or heel pain. Morning foot pain is a signature of this illness. It's a notoriously stubborn injury that can persist for years, unresponsive to simple treatments. However, with a strategic approach incorporating strength exercises, stretches, and innovative tools like body weight support systems, individuals can pave their way toward recovery and prevent future occurrences. Let's dive into a detailed plan designed to combat plantar fasciitis effectively.

Strengthening the Foundation: Exercises to Build Support

The key to overcoming plantar fasciitis lies not only in stretching the tight tissues but also in strengthening the muscles around the foot and calf to improve overall foot mechanics. Here are exercises tailored to strengthen the supportive structures of your feet:

Toe Towel Curls

Objective: Strengthen the muscles under your foot to support the arch.

How-to: Lay a towel flat on the floor. Using only your toes, scrunch the towel towards you, then push it away. Repeat for 3 sets of 15.

Calf Raises

Objective: Strengthen the calf muscles and, indirectly, the arch of your foot.

How-to: Stand on a step with your heels off the edge. Slowly raise up onto your toes, then lower down below the step level. Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Pro tip: Did you know you could do calf raises while unloaded by LEVER? If you're just beginning your plantar rehab, performing exercises at a reduced weight is a great place to start!

Seated Foot Flexion

Objective: Strengthen the anterior tibialis muscle for better foot support.

How-to: Sit with one leg crossed over the other. Wrap a resistance band around the foot, holding the ends with your hand. Pull the toes towards you against the band's resistance. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Stretching Out the Pain: Key Stretches for Relief

Alongside strengthening, stretching plays a vital role in healing plantar fasciitis. Here are stretches that target the affected area:

Plantar Fascia Stretch

Objective: Stretch the plantar fascia and alleviate arch pain.

How-to: Sit and cross the affected foot over your knee. Use your hand to gently pull back on your toes until you feel a stretch in your arch. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times.

Calf Stretch

Objective: Alleviate strain on the plantar fascia by stretching the calf muscles.

How-to: Stand facing a wall with your hands at eye level. Place the injured foot behind you, keeping the heel down, and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times.

Achilles Tendon Stretch

Objective: Target the Achilles tendon to relieve related tension.

How-to: Similar to the calf stretch but bend the back knee while keeping the heel on the ground. This adjustment focuses the stretch on the Achilles tendon. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times.

Leveraging Technology: The Role of Body Weight Support

An innovative approach to rehabilitation involves the use of unloading systems, such as the LEVER Movement system. Runners and triathletes of all ages have utilized our systems to manage and recover from plantar fasciitis effectively while maintaining their training routines​​​​. By running or performing exercises with reduced body weight, individuals can continue to engage in physical activity without exacerbating their plantar fasciitis, thus striking a balance between rest and rehabilitation.

Recovering from plantar fasciitis requires an approach that addresses both flexibility and strength while allowing for continued activity without overstrain. By incorporating targeted exercises, strategic stretches, and the innovative use of the LEVER, those suffering from plantar fasciitis can find relief and prevent future issues. Always consult with healthcare professionals to ensure these recommendations align with your specific condition. With dedication and the right strategy, overcoming plantar fasciitis is within reach.