Stretching Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

STRETCHING EXERCISES ARE CRUCIAL FOR THE TREATMENT OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS AND RELATED HEEL PROBLEMS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DO THE EXERCISES SHOWN BELOW TWO TO THREE TIMES A DAY. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CONTINUE THE EXERCISES EVEN WHEN PAIN FREE, SINCE INCREASED FLEXIBILITY WILL HELP PREVENT FUTURE PROBLEMS. IF STRETCHING CAUSES AN INCREASE IN PAIN, CONSULT YOUR DOCOTOR. ALWAYS DO A GENTLE SLOW STRETCH RATHER THAN ANY TYPE OF FAST, FORCED MOTION.

ICE YOUR ARCH AND HEEL FOR 10-20 MINUTES 3-4 TIMES DAILY. THERE ARE SEVERAL METHODS THAT CAN BE USED INCLUDING FROZEN WATER BOTTLES AND EVEN ICE CUPS. AN EVEN BETTER METHOD IS USE OF ICY FEET, A REUSABLE MOLD THAT IS PLACED IN THE FREEZER. IT FITS THE ARCH AND IS CONVENIENTLY PLACED BACK IN THE FREEZER FOR THE NEXT USE.
DIABETICS MUST CHECK WITH THEIR DOCTOR BEFORE USING ICE ON THEIR FEET SINCE EXTREME TEMPERATURES COULD CAUSE COLD INJURY.

1. Soleus Towel Stretch: Place a towel around the ball of the foot, with the knee bent. Pull the towel toward you until you feel a stretch in the calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 6 times. Do 2-3 times per day.

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2. Gastrocnemius Towel Stretch: Place a towel around the ball of the foot, with the knee straight. Pull the towel toward you until you feel a stretch in the calf. Repeat 6 times. Do 2-3 times per day.

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3. Standing Soleus Stretch: Keep heel on floor and turned slightly outward, bend the knee until a stretch is felt in the calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 6 times a day. Do 2-3 times per day.

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4. Standing Gastrocnemius Stretch: Keep heel on floor and turned slightly outward, keep knee straight and lean into the wall until a stretch is felt in the calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 6 times. Do 2-3 times per day.

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5. Plantar Fasciitis Stretch: Rest ankle on opposite knee. Grasp the toes and pull them gently backward, until a stretch is felt in the arch of the foot. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 6 times. Do 2-3 times per day.

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Photos by Andrea Palmisano.