If You’re SICK & TIRED of Plantar Fasciitis… WATCH THIS

If You’re SICK & TIRED of Plantar Fasciitis… WATCH THIS

Plantar fasciitis stretches are an important part of the treatment plan for this foot injury. It’s not just the plantar fascia we need to consider when using stretching techniques for this stubborn heel pain – we need to look above and below, at the calf muscles and mobility of the big toe. You can get significant pain relief from these plantar fascia stretches and plantar fasciitis exercises in general.

CAN YOU RUN WITH PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

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Plantar fasciitis is an injury that quite a number of you guys have messaged me about, asking for more information. The typical heel pain that comes with this often stubborn injury is often quite debilitating and can hang around for a long time if not managed properly.

Thankfully, there are a number of simple techniques you can treat your plantar fasciitis at home – or more specifically deal with some of the common contributing factors, such as tightness in the calf muscles.

Let’s start with understanding the anatomy around the bottom of the foot and ankle region. The plantar fascia runs from the heel bone the calcaneus, along the bottom of the foot, and across the metatarsal heads, the balls of the foot. As we walk and run, the action of us loading the toes adds tension to the plantar fascia, which helps create a more rigid foot and solid base to push-off through.

That’s a good thing, and is how the foot’s supposed to function.

Coming back to the heel bone, the calcaneus, another structure which attaches to this bone is the achilles tendon, which transfers force from the calf muscles. If the calf muscles are chronically tight, the achilles is going to be subtlety pulling the calcaneus in a direction which places constant strain on the plantar fascia… which it won’t like.

So to effectively manage your plantar fasciitis symptoms, it’s important that we deal with any tightness in the calf complex, and ensure that the big toe in particular is able to dorsiflex properly.

Here are some stretches for you to try…

Standing facing a wall, stand with one foot forward and one back, so that the rear foot is so far back it feels like you’re about to lift the heel. Place your hands on the wall, and push your heel down to the ground. You should feel a stretch in your calf muscles.

Be sure to watch the position of your rear foot, keeping it straight rather than allowing it to turn outwards as you stretch.

Hold this stretch for 3-5 sets of 20-40 seconds on each leg, twice a day.

To stretch the soleus muscle, lower in the calf region, you need to repeat the same set-up, keeping both knees bent, and both feet flat on the floor. Drive the rear knee forwards as you drop your weight down into your back foot.

You should feel this stretch lower in your calf region that the previous exercises. Hold this stretch for 3-5 sets of 20-40 seconds on each leg, twice a day.

It’s important that we also work on mobility of the big toe in particular, as walking and running gait both require you to be able to roll through the big toe. A lack of range of motion here can result in the plantar fascia becoming dysfunctional through not being loaded properly over time.

There are a couple of reasons why the big toe can lack range of motion. It could be a consistent structural problem or a functional issue, which will be more present in weight bearing. So if you do struggle with big toe motion, and are suffering with plantar fasciitis, I’d suggest a visit to the podiatrist to further assess the issue.

A great stretch to promote big toe motion uses the wall once again. Place your big toe up against the wall once again and try to keep the rest of your foot on the floor as much as you can. From there drive your knee towards the wall and hold for 3-5 sets of 20-40 seconds.

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ABOUT ME: I’m a runner, sports rehabilitation specialist and coach based in the UK (Norwich and London).

Since 2007 I’ve been working with athletes focusing specifically on helping distance runners and triathletes overcome injury and improve performance through developing their individual running technique.

Running biomechanics has become a geeky little passion of mine!

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