If you are thinking of stretching your way to freedom from heel pain, I strongly urge you to stop thinking. Easy, I mean stop just thinking and start doing it! You must start doing stretches for plantar fasciitis if you are serious about pain relief. What follows in this article is a complete, simple and easy guidance for plantar fasciitis stretches and exercises, with clear instructions. These stretches can be done at home.
7 Most Effective Stretches and Exercises For Pain Relief
Strangely, most of the people who come to know about plantar fasciitis for the first time think surgery is the only treatment. Unfortunately, what they don't seem to know is, even surgery is not a guaranteed solution.Jump Ahead: Show me the stretches
The reassuring fact is that 90% of the cases are completely curable using conventional methods, including stretches and exercises for Plantar Fasciitis. (Sources: Global research Study and University of Michigan research)
If you wish, you can also download the PDF I have written which has all the stretches mentioned in this article. Also, there is a video (below) with three additional and effective stretches which are not present in the pdf.Jump Ahead: Show me the stretches
Benefits of Stretches and Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
I see absolutely no reason to skip these stretching exercises for plantar fasciitis for pain relief because of these reasons.
- Stretching exercises are effective in most cases. The challenge here is to do it the right way. My message to people who raise doubt about effectiveness of plantar fasciitis stretches is "do it the right way, at right times. Correct the mistakes that you are making in all probability".
- Research studies have concluded that conventional methods of treatments backed up by proper stretching exercise routine should be tried for at least first 6 months of plantar fasciitis. If that doesn't work, only then complicated stuff like cortisone shots, shockwave therapy or even surgery should be tried.
- Stretching exercises for plantar fasciitis are extremely easy and simple. One can do these stretches at home, in just a few minutes.
- Stretching exercises strengthen the arch of the foot to bear our body weight during intensive activities like running or standing for long hours.
- It's a free treatment method!
Let's get started with the stretching exercises.
#1 Calf and Foot Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
This is a variation of push-up exercise against the wall, but meant for stretching your plantar fascia tissue.
Stand at arm’s length from the wall, facing it with your hands against the wall at shoulder level. Move the leg that pains behind and keep the foot flat on floor. You have to keep the back knee straight and heel flat and firm on the floor. With your front foot approximately 30 cm or 12" from the wall, slowly bend the front knee towards the wall until you feel a stretch through the calf muscle of the affected leg (the one behind). Hold it there for 10 seconds. Your back knee/leg does not move at all, you move only the front knee in his stretch.
Duration:Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your other leg. Repeat six times a day.
Points to remember about stretching exercise #1
- Front foot is approximately 12 inches or a foot away from wall, the back foot is a step behind the front foot
- Both heels are flat, fixed on the floor, not moving at all
- Only the front knee moves forward to the point you feel a stretch through calf muscle of the leg which is behind
#2 Plantar Fasciitis Stair Stretches
Standing on a step of the stairs with both feet on the same step, hold the stair-rail with your hand for firm support. Now stand with both feet so that your both heels are off the edge of the step, as shown in the picture. At this point, you are standing on the balls of your feet, supporting yourself only on the front of your feet.
To start the stretch, slowly move your heels down over the edge of the step, keeping knees straight. Keep lowering the heels down until you feel calf is tightening up.
Duration:Hold your heels at lower position for 15 seconds then move your heels back up to the level of the step. Repeat 6 times a day.
Points to remember about stretching exercise #2
- Both the heels on the same step and move down together
- knees are to be kept straight, not to bend at all
- to be done with stair-rail or other firm support
#3 Plantar Fasciitis Towel Stretches
First thing, you need to grab a towel or some kind of a belt for this stretch. Although it's popularly known as towel stretch, you are free to use any suitable object like a thick, elastic strap or belt. Now sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Your both knees should be straight. Roll the towel (or your belt/strap) and loop it around the top of one foot. Start with the foot that is (more) painful.
Maintaining straight, upright posture of your body, slowly pull your toes by pulling the towel towards you. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
Many people including myself don't find towel very convenient for this stretch. If you want to use more convenient stretching device, you can look at this yoga strap or see if you prefer one of these Tubigrips.
Duration:Hold your toes at pulled position for 15 - 20 seconds then slowly release and relax for few seconds. Repeat 5 times a day for each foot.
Points to remember about stretching exercise #3
- sit on even surface with no slope or tilt
- can not bend the knees at any point during this stretch
- the towel (or strap/belt) should get a firm grip when you pull
#4 Plantar Fasciitis Rolling Stretches
The rolling stretches for plantar fasciitis are to be done bare foot. It looks too simple (and it is) but it's easier to make mistake. You have to roll the arch of the affected foot over a juice/drinks can or tennis ball or rolling pin. Place a cold (not frozen) can under the heel of painful foot and roll back and forth.
The rolling may happen at random directions, so long as your arch is always in good contact with the can. It's best to do this after some activity or after previous 3 stretches shown above.
Duration:Do this exercise for 5 minutes on affected foot (or feet), repeat twice a day.
Points to remember about stretching exercise #4
- the surface should be even with no slope or tilt
- the drinks can should be cold, but not frozen at the time of using
- if you feel discomfort in the heel while doing it, suspend it then. You can do this later in the day.
3 More Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis - Video
These are very good stretches which are not commonly mentioned or explained elsewhere properly. Please note that all the 3 stretches shown by Dr. Robert LaBelle in the video are completely different from all the first 4 exercises explained above, in this article. He very clearly explains the 3 simple exercises with appropriate do's and do-not-do's.
How Effective are These Stretches for Pain Relief?
I would like to rephrase this question as, "How much time these stretches take to relieve heel pain?".
These stretches are recommended by podiatrists and Orthopaedic experts to anyone looking to get rid of heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. These are effective in pain relief but to what extent and how fast? That depends upon the complexity and the age of your heel pain.
These stretches begin to show effect in a week or two in most cases but how far can they go in pain relief depends upon the severity of your pain. These stretches are definitely your first step however I am a fan of a complete plan which has specific stretches as part of a consolidated plan.
Unfortunately, the best stretching plan that I know of is protected by copyright and I am not allowed to disclose it's details here. Obviously and unfortunately, that's not free. It works for everybody and that's why it's special. That plan has the above stretches and many other proprietary (means exclusive) exercises that can be done at home. The real proprietary part is the complete schedule of stretches with specific instructions.
The above stretches in this article do work for pain relief but if you want a faster solution to show effect within 72 hours or so, you can check Dr. Jeremy Robert's Fast Plantar Fasciitis Cure.
A Word About Plantar Fasciitis Diet Plan
Is there a diet plan for plantar fasciitis? I asked this question 2 years ago and guess what - I was thrown almost a dozen diet plans at my face by sellers trying to make merry out of my agony. Did I buy any? Embarrassingly I admit yes, I did buy one. Generally these sales persons are selling a couple of diet plans already, when you ask about diet plan for plantar fasciitis, they will recommend one for you.
Does that mean there is no diet plan for plantar fasciitis? If you look at the main reason of plantar fasciitis, it is the result of your fascia tissue unable to take the load of your body when you do intensive activities like standing for long hours, running, walking and so on. In most cases, it's the body weight which becomes the root cause of inflamed fascia.
There are two solutions: either reduce the physical activities or reduce the body weight. The first option is not always easy to take due to our professional, career and other commitments (and may not be the healthier option too). So, you must look to balance out the weight part. Reduce as much as you can.
That means plantar fasciitis diet plan should be a specific kind of fat burn diet plan. You can Google fat burn recipes that are not expensive.
That's not the subject of this article but I can tell you my preference of "plantar fasciitis diet plan" here. There is a collection of fat burn recipes that I prefer because I like the taste.
Generally fat burn recipes are either bland or do not work, but thankfully these ones work and have a good flavor. You can do the free download on the right and see if you like it too.
Update: I got many emails saying that some mobile devices are not showing the links on the right so you can grab the free download here.
Another easy and practical action that you can take every morning to reduce weight is following this sensible advice. This works real fast.
As I stated at the beginning, I think these stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis are very effective in getting rid of pain. The relief is usually faster when you use additional support for your arch like shoes with good cushioning, compression socks, orthotic insoles or even night splints in case of severe pain. During the times when my plantar fasciitis pain was at peak, I also got this foot massager from Amazon which helped me to a good extent. I am convinced that anyone looking for heel pain treatment, should start with plantar fasciitis stretches and exercises at home.
Click Here to download the stretches in PDF file
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