The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition involving the plantar fascia, is not something to be in fear of. There are countless of conservative solutions and treatment measures, which can be followed, in order to reduce the overall inflammation, obtain the desired pain relief and improve the general level of functionality. Physical therapists will especially recommended a number of specific stretches for the plantar fasciitis and for all the right reasons. These can be used to reduce the tension at the level of the plantar fascia, with a definite improvement whereas the rest of the symptoms is concerned.
Description: begin by standing in front of a wall, at arm’s length. Make sure that the right foot is placed behind the left one. Bend the left leg forward, gently and slowly. At the same time, the right foot should be kept firmly on the ground, with the knee in a straight position. Maintain the stretch between 15 and 30 seconds, then release and repeat three times. Switch the legs and repeat.
What it does: this particular stretch allows you to stretch the calf muscles, relieving the tension on the plantar fascia at the same time. Just make sure that you maintain the stretch only for the recommended amount of time.
Stretch no. 2
Description: sit on a chair, with one of the feet placed firmly on the ground. Keep your back straight and, using a foam roller, roll the other foot, in a back-and-forth motion. Repeat for a minute, then switch. If you do not have a foam roller, you can use a water bottle or even a can.
What it does: the back-and-forth motion reduces the tension on the plantar fascia, contributing to a decrease in the existent inflammation and rigidity. The tensed muscles of the foot are also relaxed.
Stretch no. 3
Description: begin by sitting on a chair as well, with one of the feet placed firmly on the ground. Cross the other leg over this one and grab your big toe, pulling it in your direction (make sure you are gentle). Maintain the stretch between 15 and 30 seconds, repeating the stretch for three times. Reverse the feet and repeat.
What it does: this stretch allows you to relax the tensed muscles of the foot, as well as the plantar fascia (works on foot arch as well).
Stretch no. 4
Description: this is a sitting exercise as well, so make sure to assume the same position. The only difference is that the support foot is not placed firmly on the ground, but rather the support is on the toes (the heel being raised from the floor surface). Take an exercise band (or a folded towel, an excellent alternative) and place it under the arch of the raised foot. Pull the top of the foot, by grabbing the both ends of the exercise band. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat three times. Switch the feet and repeat the three sets again.
What it does: this is an excellent stretch for the reduction of heel pain, working wonders to reduce the tension at the level of the plantar fascia.
Stretch no. 5
Description: begin by standing on front of a step, with one of the feet placed firmly on the ground. Raise your other foot, so that the heel is on the ground but the toes are on the step. Maintain that stretch between 15 and 30 seconds, then return to the original position. Repeat for three times and switch the feet. You can perform the stretch with the knee straight or bent, but make sure you cover both. Gentle stretching is always recommended, as you do not want to do more damage than good.
What it does: this stretch allows for the simultaneous stretching of the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon.
Stretch no. 6
Description: begin by sitting on a chair, with one of the feet placed firmly on the ground. Cross the other leg over the knee and place your finger in-between the toes. Make sure to sit up straight, with a little bit of extension in the lumbar part of the back (avoid slouching). Use your hand, in order to perform imaginary circles at the level of the ankle. Go counterclockwise 10 to 20 times, then switch in the other direction. Change legs and go through the same motions.
What it does: this stretch is perfect to relax the feet muscles, as well as the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. It is recommended for those who want to prevent plantar fascia, especially if they are accustomed to wearing high heels or are regularly engaged in athletic activities.
Stretch no. 7
Description: begin by kneeling on one foot, with the entire body weight being placed over that knee. The heel should be kept on the ground and the body should lean forward. The more you lean forward, the better you will stretch the arch of that foot. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating it for three times. Then, switch feet and repeat.
What it does: this is one simple stretch, destined to improve the overall flexibility in the foot and ankle area.
Stretch no. 8
Description: begin by kneeling on one foot as well, this time both of your hands being placed on the ground. The body weight should be placed over the knee and you should gently move it, in the forward direction. Always remember that the foot should be placed firmly on the ground. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat the same stretch three times. Switch to the other foot and repeat.
What it does: this stretch has a similar purpose as the one above, the only difference being given by the fact that this particular one delivers a more intensive stretching experience.
These stretches should be performed on a daily basis, in order to reduce the tension present at the level of the plantar fascia and improve your overall symptomatology. As you have seen, some of the stretches allow you to relax the calf muscles, while others are meant to relax the Achilles tendon and the muscles of the feet. Keep in mind that these stretches can be used to prevent plantar fasciitis as well.