A Variety of Stretches for Proper Relief

by David McCullough

Plantar fasciitis stretches can reduce the pressure that may aggravate the fascia, and can therefore help alleviate the accompanying pain that results from such stress. Remember that most patients experience pain after periods of rest, and during the morning hours when the fascia has not yet had a chance to loosen up. Stretching exercises can prevent such pain by loosening up the fascia and the associated musculature, and are most successful during the early morning hours.

That being said, certain plantar fasciitis stretches are also appropriate during the daytime hours, and the extent to which a patient utilizes the following exercises will depend heavily on their particular condition, and their schedule. Patients should not overlook the importance of following the included techniques as closely as possible, as not doing so can result in a significant decrease in effectiveness, and perhaps a worsening of their condition.

Towel Stretch

Patients should sit down on the floor with their feet stretched out in front of their bodies. A towel should be looped around the affected foot, and then should be subsequently pulled towards the torso. This position should be held for about 15-30 seconds and then released to allow for relaxation. Patients should repeat this exercise ten times as needed.

Stair Stretch

This stretch should begin with the patient finding a stair that they feel comfortable standing on. The balls of their feet should touch the edge of the stair with their affected foot hanging off.

Patients should hold the wall for balance if needed. A level, or “up” position should be maintained at first, with the patient slowly lowering the back of their foot and heel slowly in order to stretch the arch of the foot. This should be repeated 3-4 times as needed.

Toe Stretch

This is a quick stretch that involves the patient pulling their toes back while in a seated position. Patients should only pull until they feel a moderate amount of stress and tension in the arch of their foot. Repeat as needed.

Can Roll

Patients should obtain an unopened frozen can that they do not mind rolling their foot up and down on. This will allow the fascia to stretch out while also applying cold therapy at the same time. Repeat as needed.

Calf and Achilles Stretch

This plantar fasciitis stretching exercise consists of the patient standing against a wall with their affected foot and leg placed in a backwards position.

The affected foot should remain flat on the ground while the other leg is bent forward in order to stretch the back leg’s calf and Achilles. Patients should lean forward to apply further pressure as needed, and should repeat around 3-4 times.

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