Heel Pain Stretching and Exercise Guide For Plantar Fasciitis

Heel Pain Stretching and Exercise Guide For Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis compromises the healthy function of the plantar fascia ligament spanning the heel, arch and ball of your foot. Engaging in simple exercises can help improve the strength and stretch of this vital ligament. All of the following exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home and involve little or no cost. When used in conjunction with rest, icing and a good orthotic shoe insert, these heel pain exercises can lead to a remarkable reduction in Plantar Fasciitis symptoms.

Heel Pain Exercise #1: The Wall And Book Stretch
How It Works:
Put a phone book or a couple of thick books on the floor about two feet away from a wall. Stand on the books so that your arches are supported but your heels overhang the back edge of the books. With your hands to either side of your face at shoulder width, slowly lean forward so that your hands are supporting your weight against the wall in front of you. Hold this position for fifteen seconds.

After the fifteen seconds are up, straighten your back while still supporting yourself with your hands on the wall. Lift up and down gently on the balls of your feet ten times. Next, change your position so that you are standing on your right foot only. Lean toward the wall, hold fifteen seconds, straighten up and do ten lifts on your right foot only. Finally, switch to your left foot and repeat the exercise.

How It Helps:
This heel pain exercise gently stretches the plantar fascia ligaments, the Achilles’ tendon and the calf muscles, promoting better elasticity and healing. The Wall Stretch also has the added bonus of helping you build new, strong muscle tissue in your calves.

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Heel Pain Exercise #2: The Water Bottle Stretch
How It Works:
Take a seat in a comfortable chair. Put a water bottle, tennis ball or rolling pin on the floor. Slowly roll the sole of your foot over the object from the ball of your foot to the heel of your foot for about a minute.

If you are suffering from pain in both heels, you can do this stretch on both feet.

How It Helps:
This exercise slowly stretches the plantar fascia ligament. Additionally, if you freeze the water bottle prior to doing this heel pain stretch, you can ice your foot while you exercise to minimize the inflammation that is common in Plantar Fasciitis.

Heel Pain Exercise #3: The Pebble Exercise
How It Works:
Take a seat in a comfortable chair. Place a mug a few inches in front of your feet on the ground. Scatter ten to fifteen pebbles or marbles in front of your feet, within reach.

Using your toes, pick up each pebble or marble and deposit it in the mug. This can take some practice! Be sure you do the exercise with both feet, even if you only have heel pain in one of them. Engage in this exercise three times a week for five to ten minutes. As you become more skilled and your feet become stronger, increase the frequency and length of the exercise.

How It Helps:
Using your toes to grasp small objects gently pulls on the muscles and ligaments in the soles of your feet, strengthening them over time and helping to prevent the painful symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis.

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Heel Pain Exercise #4: The Wall Squat
How It Works:
Stand in front of a wall with your feet together. Put your hands against the wall in front of you at shoulder height and width. Then, re-position your right foot so that it is 4″-5″ closer to the wall than your left foot. Be sure your weight is evenly distributed on both feet.

Slowly squat down approximately 8″ until you feel a good stretch in your calf and heel muscles. Hold the position for twenty to thirty seconds.

Now, repeat the exercise with your left foot in the forward position.

How It Helps:
This simple, comfortable exercise both stretches and strengthens the muscles in your calves and heels, relieving tautness that can contribute to, or stem from, Plantar Fasciitis.

Heel Pain Exercise #5: The Big Wall Stretch
How It Works:
Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the surface of the wall to support your weight. Take a big step forward with your right foot so that it is now only 2″ from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend it slowly at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for twenty to thirty seconds.

Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

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How It Helps:
Plantar Fasciitis can create tightness in the calf muscles. This easy exercise will help loosen your calves and improve heel pain symptoms.

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