The best exercises to combat Plantar Fasciitis
If you’re a runner it’s likely you’ll be familiar with Plantar Fasciitis, a painful condition which results in a deep ache or sharp stabbing pain in the heel or along the arch of your foot. However, it’s not just runners or those on their feet for large portions of the day that run the risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis – if you have a problems with your feet such as high arches or flat feet, you could be at risk of developing this common and painful condition.
The pain and stiffness along the arch of the foot and in the heel that is characteristic of Plantar Fasciitis can make exercise, as well as daily activities and walking, difficult. Luckily there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms and with some treatment, such as exercises and supports, you should be able to get back to doing the exercise and activities you enjoy.
What exercises should I do for Plantar Fasciitis?
Whether you’re just starting to experience Plantar Fasciitis symptoms or have an established condition, stretching out the muscles in the feet could help.
Try the below exercises daily to relieve symptoms and get back on your feet sooner.
- Foot rolling stretch: Sit down and rest the arch of your foot on a round or cylindrical object, for example a drinks can, tin of beans or a foam roller. Roll the arch in all directions for a minute on each foot.
- Foot flex: Looping a towel around the ball of your foot, pull your toes towards your body, keeping your knee straight. Hold for 30-seconds and repeat up to three times on each foot.
- Foot stretch: Sit down and cross your foot over the opposite knee. Take the base of your toes and pull them back until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 20-seconds and repeat up to three times on each foot.
- Towel scrunch: Smooth a towel on the floor and place the injured foot on top. Sitting on a chair and keeping your heel down and still, use your toes to pull the towel towards you by scooping it in with your arch and toes. Repeat five times on each foot.
It’s not just your foot you need to worry about - tight calf muscles and a stiff Achilles Tendon can aggravate Plantar Fasciitis and cause further pain in the foot. Soothe symptoms with the following stretches.
- Wall stretch: With your hands against a wall, straighten the knee of the affected leg, bending your other knee in front. Keep both feet flat and hold for 10 seconds – you should feel a stretching sensation in the heel and calf of your extended leg. Repeat two to three times on each side.
- Stair stretch: Stand on the bottom step of a staircase. Holding the stair rail for support and with your legs slight apart, position the feet so that both heels are off the end of the step. Lower the heels, keeping the knees straight but not locked, until you feel a tightening in your calf. Hold the position for 20-60 seconds and repeat six times.
Do compression socks help Plantar Fasciitis?
Combining self-help measures such as daily stretching with dedicated supports can help to alleviate Plantar Fasciitis discomfort more quickly. Compression socks are often cited as a way to help this common condition, but do they really help Plantar Fasciitis?
The jury is still out on whether compression socks work when it comes to treating Plantar Fasciitis, but a dedicated support that has been designed for this condition could help.
The Neo G Plantar Fasciitis Everyday Support has an Advanced Silicone Heel Cushion, which helps provide impact protection, support and added comfort on the heel, helping to relieve symptoms. This support can be worn all day, with or without footwear, and during every day, recreational or sporting activities.
Insoles, such as heel cups, can also provide much needed comfort and support. The heel cushion from Neo G’s NeoThotics range absorbs shock to the heel, helping to ease the stress and bruising to the Plantar Fascia which causes the pain.
Can I exercise with Plantar Fasciitis?
If you’re a keen runner, sports person or gym goer you’ll probably be keen to get back to exercise as soon as possible, but should you exercise if you have Plantar Fasciitis?
It can take 6-12 months for your foot to go completely back to normal, so eschewing exercise completely isn’t a good idea. Instead, focus on taking things at your own pace and getting proper treatment to get you back on your feet. The following tips can help:
- Ice - try icing the area using a cold pack to relieve pain and discomfort and reduce inflammation.
- Stretching and massage – stretch the area regularly and use a tennis ball or your hands to massage the foot area.
- Try a new form of exercise – if regular exercise is making the problem worse, look for lower impact activities that will avoid putting pressure on the area. Swimming and yoga are all great ways to keep fit that won’t put as much pressure on your feet.
If you continue to struggle with Plantar Fasciitis, speak to your GP or a physiotherapist, who will be able to recommend further treatment.
For more information on plantar fasciitis read our previous post: PLANTAR FASCIITIS CAUSES & TREATMENT
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We hope this helps and best of luck with your rehabilitation.
Our VCS range offers varying levels of support from mild to moderate to firm to provide optimum protection and stability. As a one size solution, these supports are fully adjustable to allow for a custom fit. In addition to this, the heat therapeutic neoprene helps to warm muscles and joints during exercise and rehabilitation, making the VCS range perfect for supporting instability during weights and gym training, as well as helping strains, sprains and weak, arthritic joints.
If its rest and recovery you need, our hot and cold therapy range offers just that. While heat therapy helps to target muscle and joint pain by relaxing muscles and improving blood flow, cold therapy works to tackle muscle swelling, soothing aches and pains.
Read more in our full Hot & Cold Therapy post.
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