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Plantar fasciitis is a painful and debilitating arch condition that often radiates pain to the heel area. It is caused by stress and pressure that stretches and tears the fibrous tissue that spans the bottom of your foot (the plantar fascia). A great way to be proactive and help prevent problems from developing in this tissue is with physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen the arch, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles.
1) Arch stretch—While in a seated position, place one foot on your lap and pull back on the toes. This stretches the arch tissue. Release and repeat for ten reps.
2) Calf exercise—While standing in front of a wall with one leg forward and one leg back, brace yourself with one arm and bend the knee of your front leg and stretch out the calf muscle. Hold for ten seconds. Release. Repeat five times. Then switch positions and repeat to stretch the other calf.
3) Step stretch—Using stairs or a step stool, stand on the edge of a step and lower both of your heels (brace yourself with one arm on the wall). Hold for five seconds and then raise up on to the balls of your feet and hold for five seconds. Repeat the exercise ten times. This stretches the Achilles tendon and releases pressure from the arches.
4) Toe exercises—A variety of simple toe stretching and strengthening exercises will increase arch flexibility. The towel scrunch is easy. Just stand on a small towel and scrunch your toes back and forth. Marble pick-up is another easy and effective exercise. Simply pick up marbles with your toes one at a time and drop them in a cup. Twenty reps per foot should be sufficient.
If you are experiencing signs of plantar fasciitis, see your foot doctor when you first notice symptoms to prevent the condition from getting worse. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas) is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.