The plantar fascia is the wide, flexible, connective tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot between the toes and the heel. When this tender arch tissue becomes overly stretched and stressed from work, exercise, and sporting activities, tiny tears can develop that weaken the overall structure eventually causing severe pain in the arch, heel, or both in a condition called plantar fasciitis.
Keeping the calf muscles and Achilles tendon in proper condition with the following exercises will help the plantar fascia by reducing stress on the arch.
Physical therapy exercises that can help prevent plantar fasciitis include the following:
- Arch stretching exercise—While sitting, lift up one foot and place it over your other thigh. Pull your foot and toes towards your shin to stretch out the plantar fascia. Hold the pull for ten seconds and repeat five times. Repeat with the other foot.
- Calf stretching exercise—Stand facing a wall with one leg pushed forward, and one leg held back. Bend the knee of the forward leg and hold for twenty seconds. Release. Repeat five times. Switch legs and repeat.
- Step stretches—Stand on the edge of a step with your heels sticking out over the edge. Slowly lower your heels to stretch the Achilles tendons and calf muscles. Then raise your heels up and hold for two seconds. Lower again and repeat the entire exercise ten times.
- Toe strengthening stretching exercise—With an elastic band wrapped around your toes, spread your toes wide and release. Repeat ten times with each foot.
If you develop problems with plantar fasciitis, see your foot care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, Woodlyn, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.