Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis | Total Performance Physical Therapy

Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

April 16, 2021

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot due to an inflammation of the plantar fascia.  The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of the foot and can become inflamed when it is overstretched and overused.

How is it inflamed?

One of the biggest ways that the plantar fascia becomes inflamed is by improper footwear.  Wearing no shoes, flip flops, flats and high heels can put tremendous stress on the plantar fascia causing it to become overused and inflamed.

Weak muscles in the hips, knee and foot can also put tremendous stress on the plantar fascia and cause it to become inflamed.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot with the first step in the morning.  Usually, people who have plantar fasciitis report the first step out of bed is the most painful with the pain getting less as the day goes on.

Pain on the bottom of the foot when walking is the other common sign of plantar fasciitis.

Although you should consult a medical professional before self-diagnosing based on symptoms alone.  We offer FREE consultations with Doctor of Physical Therapy if you live in Bucks or Montgomery PA, all you have to do is click here and enter your information and we will be in touch!

What can you do besides stretch?

There are a few things that you should do besides stretching to help heal plantar fasciitis.  The first is watch what shoes you are wearing.  It is important that if you have pain in your foot, whether it is plantar fasciitis or not, you should not walk bare foot, in flip flops, in flats or in heels.  Wearing a good supportive walking shoe is going to help give the bottom of the foot a much-needed rest.

Second you want to be icing the bottom of the foot.  The best way to do this is fill up a plastic water bottle with water and then freeze it.  Then run it under your foot for 15 minutes.  You should do this 2-3 times per day.

You also want to foam roll or roll out with a ball the bottom of the foot.  Taking a golf ball or a beastie ball and rolling the bottom of the foot for about 5 minutes, 2 times a day can help alleviate the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

Finally, you want to make sure that you are strengthening the muscles, not just in the foot but in the hip and knee as well.  You do not want to ignore everything surrounding the foot as it is also to blame for causing plantar fasciitis, so it is important that you strengthen the muscles around the ankle, in the knee and hip as well.  You can watch our You Tube Channel, Total Performance Physical Therapy, to find out exercises for the hip, knee, and foot.

What stretches should I do for the plantar fascia?

As previously mentioned, it is important not only to stretch the plantar fascia, but also the muscles surrounding the plantar fascia.

The first stretch you want to do is find a wall and you are going to put your toes up on it, so the ball of your foot is against the wall.  You can see this performed in the video below.  Then keep the ball of the foot pressed up against the wall you are going to slide the ball of the foot down until you feel a good stretch.  Your toes should be pointing up at the sky and you should feel a stretch on the bottom of the foot.

The ball of the foot may slide down all the way to the ground or it may only slide down a few inches before you feel a stretch.  Do not stretch to the point of pain, stretch to the point where you feel a good stretch, not pain.  Hold that 30 seconds and repeat 6 times.

The next stretch you want to do is a calf stretch.  Start standing up with the ball of your foot and toes on a step and your heel hanging off.  Keeping your knee straight, drop the foot down until you feel a good stretch going up the back of your leg.  Hold that 30 seconds and repeat 6 times.  This is also demonstrated in the video.

The final stretch you want to do is for the front of the leg, the shin.  Start in standing, curl your toes, and place the top of your foot on the ground until you feel a good stretch.  Hold that 30 seconds and repeat 6 times.

Again, is important to make sure that you treat not only the plantar fascia, but everything around the plantar fascia to make sure everything is working together in unison and you are able to heal.

If you or someone you know is suffering with foot pain and wants a FREE consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, click here and enter your information and we will be in touch!