Plantar Fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (fas-ee-I-tiss) is an irritation or inflammation of the plantar fascia (FASHee-ah). The plantar fascia is a tough, fibrous band that extends from the heel to the ball of the foot. Its main function is to help support the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia continuously absorbs the stresses placed on the foot during walking, running, and jumping. Plantar fasciitis usually causes a sharp pain under the heel with the first steps in the morning or after sitting for a long time.

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

1. Anti-inflammatory medication and ice. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to decrease pain and discomfort. Ice massage can also be used for pain relief. Fill a small round plastic bottle with ice and freeze it. When it is time to ice your heel, place the bottle on the floor and roll your arch over it for at least 10 minutes. This gives you the benefits of ice, stretching, and massage all at the same time. You should apply ice to the heel and arch of the foot two to three times daily to reduce inflammation.

2. Heel cups. Heel cups are inserts for your shoes. They help cushion and support your heel.

3. Night splint. A night splint is a hard plastic splint that is worn at night to maintain your foot and ankle in a neutral position after stretching. This helps speed healing of the plantar fascia.

4. Stretching. Stretching is an important part of the treatment for plantar fasciitis and must be done daily, at least until you have had no symptoms for three months. Stretching exercises are listed below.

Stretches for plantar fasciitis

Soleus towel stretch

Bend your knee and place a towel around the ball of your foot. Pull the towel toward you until a stretch is felt in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat six times. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

Gastrocnemius towel stretch

With your knee straight, place a towel around the ball of your foot. Pull the towel toward you, until a stretch is felt in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat six times. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

Standing soleus stretch

Face a wall. Place your hands on the wall directly in front of you, with elbows slightly bent. Stand with one leg in front of the other and the heel of your front foot turned slightly outward. Bend your knee until a stretch is felt in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat six times. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

Standing gastrocnemius stretch

Face a wall. Put your hands on the wall directly in front of you, with your elbows completely straight. Stand with one leg in front of the other, and the heel of your front foot turned slightly outward. Keep your knee straight and lean into the wall until a stretch is felt in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat six times. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

Plantar fascia stretch

Sit with your ankle resting on your opposite knee. Grasp your toes and pull them gently backward until

a stretch is felt in the arch of your foot. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat six times. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions about the stretches that have been shown here, call:

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