Prevent The Pain Of Plantar Faciitis With 5 Simple Exercises
Although it may start out as a slight irritation, plantar faciitis is a foot injury that could end up causing you serious, stabbing pain with every step you take. It is caused when the fascia on the bottom of your feet becomes too tight and small tears occur. There are multiple options for treating the symptoms of this condition, but your better choice is to treat the cause. There are exercises that, if done daily, will help you prevent the pain of plantar faciitis.
Are You at Risk?
There are several factors that can lead to plantar faciitis.
- having high or flat arches
- having an occupation that requires you to stand for several hours
- wearing poor quality shoes, particularly while exercising
- being overweight
- regular running or pushing off of a starting block
- having tight Achilles tendons
- being between the ages of 40 and 60
What Can You Do?
If you fit into one or more of these categories you should find the time to add these 5 simple exercises to your daily schedule.
- Calf Raises - Stand on the edge of a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Raise up onto your toes then lower your feet until your heels hang below the edge of the step. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions. This exercise will strengthen your calves and Achilles tendons which will give support to your arches.
- Arching or Doming - While standing, keep the heel of one foot firmly on the floor. Arch your foot by pushing your toes down towards the floor then release. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions then repeat on the other foot. This exercise strengthens the muscles of the arch and the tibialis posterior - a muscle that runs from the lower leg to the toes.
- Toe Spread and Squeeze - You will need two simple pieces of equipment for this exercise: a wide rubber band that will fit snugly around your toes and a toe separator like the kind used in nail salons. First, place the rubber band around your toes on one foot. Spread your toes apart and then relax. Do 3 sets of ten repetitions then switch the rubber band to the other foot and repeat the process. Next, position the toe separator between the toes of one foot. Squeeze your toes together and then relax. This exercise is also done for 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each foot. This strengthens the interossei muscles that are on each toe. These muscles support your arches.
- Towel Curls - Sit on a chair that allows you to comfortably rest your feet on the floor. Place a small hand towel under one foot. Using your toes pull the towel toward your heel so that it scrunches up under your arch. Then use your toes to pull the towel back out so it is flat. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each foot. This exercise works to increase your overall foot strength.
- Calf Stretches - You will need a flat exercise band for this exercise. If you don't have one you can use a belt or a towel, but it may not be as effective. Sit on your bed or the floor with one leg straight out. Position the band around the ball of your foot. Crossing it over the top of your foot will help it stay in position as you move. In a slow gentle rhythm, flex your foot until you feel a stretch in your calf and then point your toes forward. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions then switch the band to your other foot and repeat. This exercise will help create more flexibility in your calf muscles so that they don't pull on the heel bone. This reduces the pull on the fascia.
Fifteen to twenty minutes a day is all it takes to prevent plantar fasciitis. You will build strong muscles in your feet and lower legs that will allow you to enjoy all of your activities. Head to a podiatrist clinic for additional information and a treatment plan.