I imagine the bottoms of our feet aren’t something that get a whole lot of attention, except from the furriest members of our families. Pets love feet for some reason. Maybe because they have four of them?
As a chiropractor for plantar fasciitis, I know that this unintentional neglect comes into sharp relief when plantar fasciitis pain takes hold. It’s not the sweet tickle from a feline friend, it’s more akin to:
And yes, chiropractors treat plantar fasciitis and have plantar fasciitis stretches. Heel pain affects more than 50% of Americans. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue that connects the heel bone to the front of the foot. Runners, athletes, and jazzercisers are very familiar with this condition brought on by repetitive motions, especially when using poor form. Weight gain can also damage or tear the plantar fascia, which is why plantar fasciitis is a common condition among pregnant women.
It can be stupid painful and eye-rollingly annoying, but it is mostly preventable and, luckily for many of my patients, highly treatable with rest, chiropractic care, ice, massage, and target stretches and exercises. Plantar fasciitis stretches and heel exercises are part of any natural plantar fasciitis treatment to reduce tissue adhesion, improve form, increase range of motion, and decrease pain.
Plantar Fascia Stretches
- Pick up a towel from the bedroom floor. Realize it’s damp and from last week. Promptly put it in the laundry hamper.
- Grab a clean towel from the linen closet, ‘cause we fancy.
- Roll up the towel and place the middle of the towel under the ball of the foot, while pulling on both ends of the towel.
- Move the foot and the towel around to help massage the fascia tissue.
For extra fancy behavior, warm the towel up first.
- Cross the affected leg over the other leg, grab a cup of tea, and stare despondently out of a rain-drenched window.
- Realize that all storms must come to an end (that’s science), set down the tea, and grab the affected foot.
- Pull to toes back towards the shin.
- Hold the toes there for 10 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Watch a YouTube video about foot binding.
- This one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Massage the arch of the injured foot with a thumb. Either one. Dealer’s choice.
- As healing progresses, the tissue will begin to firm up like the string on a guitar.
- Lean forward and spread the feet apart with one foot in front of the other.
- Flex the knees and squat, keeping the heels on the ground as long as possible.
- Hold this for 10 seconds.
- Repeat 20 times or until the commercial break is over.
Plantar Roll Out
- Take a seat, it’s been a long day.
- Roll the injured foot back and forth over a foam roller, tennis ball, or frozen water bottle.
- After a minute, switch to the other foot.
The plantar fascia isn’t the only tissue that can benefit from some stretching. Taut muscles in the feet and the calves aggravate plantar fasciitis, so it’s important not to neglect the other areas of the leg that may be forced to compensate for plantar fasciitis pain.
Leg Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Achilles Tendon Stretches
- Place the injured leg behind the uninjured leg with the toes of the back foot pointed towards the heel of the other foot.
- Lean against a wall, or sturdy-looking bystander, and bend the front knee while keeping the back leg straight.
- Keep the back heel firmly planted on the ground and stretch for 10 seconds.
- Repeat for a baker’s dozen.
- Stand at an arm’s length from the wall.
- Place the right foot behind the left.
- Gently bend the left leg forward.
- Keep the right knee straight and the right heel on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and release.
- Do that again.
- And again.
- Then repeat on the other leg.
For those that claim they don’t have time to stretch…
Exercising is only 50% of the battle. The other half (math whiz) is stretching. Without stretching, our muscles remain perpetually taut and we ultimately lose our range of motion. But in the event that a non-stretcher isn’t convinced by my incredulousness (spelling bee runner-up)…
Plantar Fasciitis Tips and Precautions
Take It Easy
Taking a break from running or working out won’t kill anyone. Our body needs to rest until the inflammation has subsided. Everyone heals at a different pace. Rest, ice, an anti-inflammatory diet and supplements, and…stretching…will speed up the plantar fasciitis recovery time.
There’s no one to impress. Seriously, people are so focused on themselves that they’re rarely impressed by anyone else. Let that be a comfort.
When starting back up after taking time to heal, start slow. Tiny runs. Something that a baby would do. Babies are so cute!
See! Plus, short runs will prevent anyone from winding up like this:
Ditch the Jimmy Choos
Good support is critical to maintaining the health of our feet. Rest, stretching, and chiropractic care can help treat plantar fasciitis, but adequate supporting, properly fitting shoes will help prevent heel pain from rearing its head.
Chiropractic treatment is such a valuable tool for plantar fasciitis pain relief. Our goal is to get to the bottom of plantar fascia pain to stop the problem and its root cause so we can relieve pain, restore function, and prevent a repeat injury.
From chiropractic adjustments on the feet to spinal adjustments balancing weight distribution and gait to soft tissue work like the Graston Technique for removing scar tissue to corrective exercises improving the functionality of the feet and legs as well as posture to deep tissue laser accelerating healing on a cellular level, we have a variety of tools to help with each patient’s unique situation.
Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors! We want our patients back up on their feet, living an active and vibrant life, with nothing holding them back!