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3 Exercises To Help Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the foot.

This pesky injury arises when you experience pain and inflammation within the tissue on the underside of your foot. The pain can be anywhere from your heel to the ball of your foot and can be sharp or dull.

Typically, overuse, old footwear, and weak supporting muscles can contribute to the problem. To cope with overuse, you can rest, and ice. To combat foot pain because of collapsed arches from old footwear, simply replace your shoes. Or, alternatively, you may benefit from orthotics. For the third, there are a number of exercises you can do to help prevent future issues arising from your plantar.

But, when injured, strengthening exercises don’t do much good. That’s for after the pain subsides. Below, we get into what you can do to eliminate the pain in the first place, and what exercises you should incorporate into your routine going forward to stay injury-free.

Eliminating initial pain

As we previously wrote, to deal with the ligament directly, take off your shoes and socks so that you’re barefoot. Sit down on a chair, loop a tea towel under the arch of one of your feet. Push outward with the foot while pulling back with the towel for gentle resistance. Do this several times with each foot.

You should also stretch out your hip flexors because they can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Strained hips create a domino effect on the limbs, changing your gait, tightening your calf muscles and overworking the plantar fascia. Many yoga routines incorporate stretches that work out the hip flexors like the pigeon pose or the bound angle pose.

Additionally, you can use a golf ball, or frozen water bottle to roll out the bottom of your foot. A frozen water bottle works in the same way as a golf ball would in massaging, but with the additional benefit of reducing inflammation.

Next, and once you’re no longer feeling plantar discomfort, you can start with the following exercises to build strength so you can avoid the injury in the future: calf raises, foot doming and towel pickups.

Calf raises

When experiencing plantar fasciitis, or any injury for that matter, it’s important to find the root of the problem. Don’t just address the point of pain itself. Since weakness in certain areas of the body results in a domino effect elsewhere, strengthening the supporting muscles in your legs is crucial. To help strengthen your arch, you can work on your heel and calf muscles through calf raises, which are essentially heel lifts.

Stand at the edge of a step, and push up through your toes and with your calf to raise your heel off the ground. Slowly bring your heel back to the ground and repeat. Start with three sets of 8-10 repetitions and build up accordingly.

Foot doming

Doming is also known as the short foot maneuver. What you want to achieve here is the cupping of your foot (to form a dome), where your arch is off the ground. Imagine scrunching your feet – effectively making your foot ‘shorter’ – and releasing. Don’t be frustrated if this exercise is hard at first; it is. As weird as it may feel, focus on the movement one stage at a time. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.

You can also make the exercise easier by using a towel and trying to grab it with your feet and pulling it towards you. This allows your foot to actually grip something. You won’t notice a big difference right away. The goal here is to improve muscle endurance so they don’t become overloaded when exercising.

Towel pickups

As alluded to above, a towel can be an underrated strengthening tool. In this case, and while in a sitting position, keep your heel on the ground while picking up a towel off of the ground using only your toes. Drop down, release and repeat. Aim to do two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions to start before increasing the number. If you get comfortable with the load, use additional weight to increase resistance.

Are you still experiencing foot pain? Book an appointment with us at Feet First Clinic online or by calling us at 416.769.3338(FEET).

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