Plantar Fasciitis is a foot condition that causes pain and inflammation in the band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes, also known as the plantar fascia. The pain can be anywhere from your heel to the ball of your foot and usually feels sharp or dull. Overuse, poorly designed footwear, and weak supporting muscles can contribute to the problem.
What You Can Do
- Rest your foot, use ice to help with swelling and pain.
- Replace your Shoes. Well-fitting shoes tailored to your needs will work wonders.
- Look into the benefits of Custom made orthotics.
These suggestions will greatly improve your quality of life, but did you know there are some exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to help with foot pain? In this article we will discuss:
- Eliminating initial pain
- Calf raises
- Towel pickups
If your pain is gradually improving and not acute, you should check out the exercises explained below! These exercises will also function as preventative steps you can take to avoid injury or developing a foot condition like plantar fasciitis.
Please note: if you’ve experienced a recent foot injury or if your foot pain is acute, strengthening exercises are not suitable. In this case, you should speak to a qualified Foot specialist to receive proper care and find answers about what you should do.
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.
- Stretch out your hip flexors, as they can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Strained hips create a domino effect on the limbs and can change your gait, tighten your calf muscles and overwork 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.
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 result 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.
Doming is 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, and 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.
A towel can certainly be an underrated strengthening tool. Let’s look at another foot exercise that incorporates a towel:
- While in a sitting position, keep your heel on the ground while picking up a towel using only your toes.
- Drop down, release and repeat.
- Aim to do two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions to start before increasing.
- If you get comfortable with the load, use additional weight to increase resistance.
We Can Help!
Experiencing plantar fasciitis? Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the spectrum, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs.
Call us at 416-769-FEET (3338) or Book Your Assessment Today!