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Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot. This may cause the heel to hurt, feel hot or swell. Microscopic tears, which occur repeatedly to the plantar fascia cause pain. Sometimes plantar fasciitis is called “heel spurs”, but this is not always accurate, since bony growths on the heel may or may not be a factor.

Plantar Fasciitis is often recognized when there is heel pain that is present on first putting weight on your feet. This pain usually gets better with movement but returns again when you sit or lie down for even a few minutes.

* Homeopathic Rhus Tox 30c taken twice a day can help relieve pain.

* Wear only shoes with good arch support.

* Try to avoid going barefoot during the healing process.

* Lose weight. Added weight adds extra pressure per square inch to the surface of the feet. Stretching the plantar surface of the feet are imperative for the healing process.

These exercises are for stretching and strengthening the muscles of the foot and ankle.

Before you start these exercises:

Do a warm-up. Warm tissues are more flexible than cold tissues and are less likely to be injured. If you are participating in sports, it is very important to warm up and do stretching exercises before your sport. Warming up and stretching will increase the flexibility in your plantar fascia and decrease the chance of injury and inflammation.

Stretching exercises before getting out of bed:

Many people with plantar fasciitis have intense heel pain in the morning, when taking the first steps after getting out of bed. Stretching or massaging the plantar fascia before getting up can often reduce heel pain when rising. Other steps that can help reduce heel pain when taking the first steps after getting out of bed include:

Wearing a night splint while you sleep. Night splints hold the ankle and foot in a position that keeps the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia slightly stretched. Massaging the bottom of your foot across the width of the plantar fascia before getting out of bed.

1. Stretch your foot by flexing it up and down 10 times before standing. Use a towel to stretch the bottom of your foot. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help reduce plantar fasciitis each day.

2. Stretching exercises should create a pulling feeling, but not pain. Stretching exercises include: Use a rolling pin or tennis ball. While standing, roll the rolling pin or ball with the arch of your foot.

3. Use a towel (towel stretch). Place the rolled towel under the center of your foot, holding the towel at both ends, and gently push your foot into the towel.

4. Calf stretches. To stretch the Achilles tendon, lean forward against a wall, keep one leg with the knee straight and heel on the ground while bending the knee in the other leg. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and try to do this stretch 3 to 6 times a day.

5. Combination plantar fascia/calf stretch. Stand on a step with the front part of your feet, keeping your heels free. While holding onto the rail, slowly lower your heels. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, then bring your heels back to a level position. Repeat this stretch 10 times.

Strengthening exercises include:

6.Towel curls. While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.

7. Marble pick-ups. Put marbles on the floor next to a cup. Using your toes, try to lift the marbles up from the floor and put them in the cup.

Exercises to avoid

Some exercises may aggravate your heel pain. One example is exercise that involves pounding of the foot against a hard surface and repeated motions, such as running or jogging. This type of exercise should be avoided to rest the plantar fascia.

You may want to take a pain reliever such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to relieve inflammation and pain. Some people take NSAIDs at least 30 minutes before they exercise to relieve pain and allow them to participate and enjoy the exercise. Other people take NSAIDs after they exercise. After exercising, ice your heel for about 20 minutes to help relieve pain and inflammation. You can easily become dependent on NSAIDS. Be careful. Bleeding gums, ulcers or any other kind of excess bleeding could be a sign of too much NSAIDs intake.

These suggestions have worked for me and my patients. You must be diligent about this as well as losing weight if you’re overweight. It will make all the difference in the world.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac – http//www.peacefulmind.com/ailments.htm – Therapies for healing mind, body, spirit

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2 Responses to Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Heel pain June 24, 2008 at 5:27 am #

    Very well written article. One thing to remember as well is that Plantar Fasciitis has a biomechanical envolvement. Looking at the origin of the PF is sometimes as important as the cures for the pain. Having your gait assessed is sometimes necessary when all else, as mentioned above, fails.

  2. wandering sage July 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Two other important things you can do to care for your feet…

    1. Soak your feet in hot/warm water each night before you go to bed. The heat will bring considerable relief to your feet and prepare them for #2.

    2. Massage your feet after soaking them. Taking time daily to massage your feet is a practice that reintegrates your feet back into the whole of your body. Too often we neglect the parts of our body that hurt. Massaging the area encourages blood flow to the area and stimulates the body’s natural healing ability.

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