Exercises for plantar fasciitis are important part of treatment regimen of plantar fasciitis along with drugs, footwear change and orthotics.
Exercises for plantar fasciitis are mainly stretch and strengthening exercises designed for plantar fascia and Achilles tendon because most people with plantar fasciitis have a slight tightness of their Achilles tendon.
Following exercises for plantar fasciitis are done either with or without shoes on.
Stretch Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Wall Push ups or stretches
Standing about 1. 5 feet from wall and feet slightly apart, put both hands on the wall at shoulder height. Bring one foot front of the other and bend your front knee.
Keep your back knee straight and lean in towards the wall to stretch. This would make your calf muscle to tighten.
Keep this position for several seconds, then relax.
Repeat 10 times. After that you may may switch to other leg if needed.
Repeat the exercises for both the legs with back knee slightly bent now. This can be done by bringing back forward slightly so that your back knee is also slightly bent.
Repeat this routine twice a day.
Lean forward onto a countertop and spread your feet apart with one foot in front of the other. Flex your knees and squat down, keeping your heels on the ground. It stretches tendoachilles and foot arches. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and straighten up.
Repeat 15-20 times.
Hold the stair rails and stand on the bottom step of stairs with legs slightly apart and with heels just off the end of the step. Lower your heels, keeping your knees straight to stretch the calves. Keep the position for half to one minute, then relax. Repeat 6-10 times.
This exercise is best done in the morning before getting up and taking a step. It can be done on the bed itself or on the floor. Sit with your legs out in front of you and loop a towel around the ball of one of your feet. Keep your knees straight, pull your toes towards your nose.
Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat three times. Do the same on other foot.
Sit on the chair with knees bent at right angles and your feet and heels flat on the floor. Lift your forefoot while heel is kept on the floor. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat about 10 times for five to six times a day.
Dynamic Plantar Fascia Stretch
This exercise is best done without shoes on. Take an object such as a bottle or a drinks can. While sitting on chair, keep the the can under your foot. Roll the foot over the can in different directions i.e. front, sides etc. This exercise should be done for each foot for a few minutes at least twice a day.
Roll a Ball
This exercise is done with golf or tennis ball and is is simply rolling the ball especially below the arch to stretch the plantar fascia.
Plantar Fascia and Calves Stretch
Sit on a chair and cross your affected leg over your other leg. Hold the toes from toe balls using your hand on your affected side and pull your toes back towards shin and maximally dorsiflexing your ankle too. This stretches the arch of the foot and plantar fascia. Check for the appropriate stretch position by gently rubbing the thumb of your unaffected side left to right over the arch of the affected foot.
The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times to complete a set.
Perform at least three sets of stretches per day. The most important times to stretch are before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a period of prolonged sitting.
Strengthening Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Following stretch exercise, strengthening exercises like towel curls, marble (or coin) pickups, and toe taps.
the patient sits on chair with the affected foot lying flat on the end of a towel that is placed floor. The patient using his toes curls up the towel to pull it towards him while keeping the heel on the floor. As Weight may be added to the far end of the towel to increase the difficulty when ability of the patient increases.
Put a towel on the floor. use only your toes to grab the towel and lift it up.
Walk on a Towel
Fold a long towel into a long tube and put it on the floor. Walk barefoot in balance on the towel back and forth.
Marbles are placed on the floor near a cup and patient picks them up with his toes and drops them in the cup while keeping the heel on the floor. Difficulty can be increased by replacing marbles with coins.
The patient lifts all the toes off the floor and heel is kept on the floor. First, the floor is tapped with big toe while other 4 toes are kept in air. Next, the big toe is kept in the air and other four toes are tapped.
Stretching or strengthening exercises should continue about 2-3 times per week.
These are done barefoot. You stand on the floor and slowly raise your heels up while standing on the balls of your feet and toes. Hold for a few seconds and slowly go back down. For increasing difficulty, this exercise can be performed on stairs.
Point and Flex
Plantarflex your ankle and point your toes forward and hold for a few seconds. Then flex your toes back towards the shin while you dorsiflex your ankle comes.
Barefoot, walk on the balls of your feet and on your toes.
A simple walking on the beach would help to strengthen the foot. If beach is not available walking on the sand would get you similar results.
Stand barefoot on one leg. Start with your heels on the ground and then raise your heels standing balanced on your one leg toes. Doing it with closed eyes makes it more difficult.
In this exercise, you move your foot in circles around your ankle, as if you draw a circle with your big toe in the air changing directions clockwise and counterclockwise. Do as many repetitions as you can. This exercise can be done even with your shoes on.