Top 3 Plantar Fasciitis Stretches and Exercises
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Today we are going to do the top 3 exercises for plantar fasciitis. First we are going to
talk about what plantar fasciitis is. If you break down plantar fasciitis, the word plantar means the bottom surface of the foot, right here. Fascia, like myofascial pain syndrome, what fascia is is the loose covering around muscle and tendons in the body. If you ever eat chicken and you take off the skin, there is that thin membrane surrounding the actual meat of the chicken. That is fascia. You have a really thick fascia on the underside of your foot. That is the plantar fascia.
Fasciitis, that last i-t-i-s, what that means, itis means inflammation. So dermatitis, appendicitis, they are inflammation of the skin and appendix respectively. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of that fascia on the underside of the foot. It happens a lot with running, it also happens a lot with people who are overweight and stand on their feet for long periods. It is pretty painful condition that we see a lot. What will happen is the person will usually have very specific pain right here on the calcaneus. That is where the plantar fascia connects to.
The 3 things that we normally do in the clinic are this. The first is you can take a roll or a Coke can works well or any sort of cold can. Because with plantar fasciitis meaning inflammation, you want to use ice to calm it down. One of the common exercises we will do is just have a person start on their heel then roll it forward the whole way along the plantar fascia, the whole way along the plantar surface of the foot. You can do that for a minute or two. Pretty simple.
The second exercise that we do is a common condition that accompanies plantar fasciitis is something called hallux rigidus. It is a big fancy term that means that the big toe, your first toe, cannot bend back adequately. So what happens is the person is walking through and they are walking and they are pushing off. When they strike their heel and they go to roll through, they don’t have that extension, they don’t have that movement, the range of motion with their big toe.
So another thing we want to do is stretch that. What that will do is take pressure off of the plantar fasciitis as the person is walking or as they are running. What we do is sit figure 4, grab the big toe and pull it back towards you. 30 second hold and in the clinic, we do 3 of those. The second is a big toe stretch or the great toe stretch. You should feel that right through here and if you do have plantar fasciitis, you may feel it the whole way back to your heel. The third and final exercise is a plantar fascia stretch. What we do is it is very similar to the great toe stretch but you stretch all 5 toes back at the same time.
You grab a bath towel and anchor your heel into the towel then pull back. It is pretty simple. The same thing, you should feel a stretch all along the plantar fascia, all along the underside of your foot. 30 second hold, 3 times. What you can do, a little trick is you can anchor the towel on your knee so you are not having to pull up the whole time and end up with some other sort of problem.
It takes all of the pressure off of your arms. 30 second hold, 3 times. Those are the 3 exercises for plantar fasciitis.
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