Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of plantar heel pain and symptoms are typically sharp in nature first thing in the morning upon standing or being seated for some time and then standing.
Part of recovery that can aid in reduction of symptoms and ort prevent recurrence is a combination of high load strength training and stretching of the plantar fascia.
However, the clinical effect may take time to manifest, so studies to date use a 3-month protocol to see significant improvement.
Here are 3 foot focused drills that can help to reduce pain associated with this condition.
- Soft Tissue Mobilisation: using a massage ball or similar in a seated position, can be used to help reduce sensitivity in the plantar fascia as the massaging assists in loosening up the adhesions instigated by the inflammation. Roll back and forth for 30-60 seconds for 1 set.
- Plantar Fascia and Gastrocnemius Stretch: this stretch places the toe in dorsiflexion and the knee in extension against the wall, which will put the plantar fascia and gastrocnemius muscle on stretch. Hold 20-30 seconds for 2 sets or repeat as needed.
- Plantar fascia loading: this is the most important exercise for reducing pain and preventing recurrence. By again placing the big toe in dorsiflexion, the plantar fascia is put on tension on the towel combined with the heel hanging off the step. Then, a calf raise is performed, to further load the tissue. Over time, this exercise will increase the capacity of the plantar fascia reducing the symptoms and improving function. Perform 3 sets of 12 slow repetitions.
All 3 exercises are to be performed every second day.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, book an appointment with one of our podiatrists for an assessment.