A common cause for plantar fasciitis is tightness in the calves and Achilles tendon, and the result is an injured plantar fascia. One of the simplest, cheapest and best things you can do for long-term recovery is to regularly perform plantar fasciitis exercises to stretch these three:
- plantar fascia
- Achilles tendon
Stretching the plantar fascia (before you get out of bed in the morning)
When you have plantar fasciitis, the ligament that runs along the bottom of your feet is swollen and irritated. One way to relieve the painful symptoms is to stretch the plantar fascia. There seem to be an increasing number of studies that indicate that stretching the plantar fascia is the single most important stretch for someone with plantar fasciitis, and that this stretch is more effective in itself than others.
It is helpful to do this stretch multiple times a day, but especially before getting out of bed, as it may reduce the pain of your first steps in the morning and prevent re-injury. If you are in an acute phase of plantar fasciitis you may need to stretch very gently or not at all until the inflammation is down a bit. Please consult your podiatrist to be sure it is okay to perform any of these stretches.
Sitting calf stretches (before you get out of bed)
Conventional wisdom holds that a big contributor to heel pain is tightness in your calve muscles. Tight calves apparently stress the ligament on the bottom of your foot and regular stretching is one of the most effective ways to help your heel problem. You can do this stretch along with your plantar fascia stretch in the morning before getting out of bed but also throughout the day, for a total of 3-4 times.
Standing calf stretches
These standing calf stretches help not only the calf but also the Achilles tendon.
A variety of stretches
- Do the above stretches for plantar fascia and the seated calf stretches before you get out of bed every morning.
- Incorporate all the stretches into your daily routine so that you are performing them 3-4 times a day.
- Be sure to hold the stretches for 20-30 seconds, and to stretch both sides, even if you have pain in only one foot, for preventative care.
- Keep stretching even after your feet start to feel better! Stretching the calves and plantar fascia is a great habit that will help us our entire lives.