Do you feel a stabbing pain in your heel when you first wake up in the morning? If this sounds all too familiar, you may have a condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thin ligament that runs like a bowstring along the bottom of your foot. If you do lots of running or other repetitive foot movements, this ligament can become irritated and painful. The pain in your foot is likely to greet you when you wake up in the morning, but there are two physical therapy exercises you can do that can help with plantar fasciitis.
- Calf stretch
Tight calf muscles can place extra strain on the plantar fascia. The two primary muscles in your calf are the gastrocnemius and the soleus, and stretching these muscles can be done with an easy plantar fasciitis physical therapy exercise called the leaning calf stretch.
To put yourself in the correct position for the leaning calf stretch, stand an arm’s length away from a wall. Lean forward so that your hands are on the wall, and then step forward so that your right foot is ahead of your left foot. Keep the heel of your left foot on the ground, and make sure your leg stays straight to directly target the gastrocnemius muscle. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch legs. You can also use a variation on this stretch to target the soleus muscle. All you have to do is slightly bend the back leg as you step forward with the other leg.
- Towel stretch
Stretching the plantar fascia directly can also help reduce your pain in the morning. There are several plantar fasciitis physical therapy exercises you can use to accomplish this, and one of the easiest to do is the towel stretch.
Before you start this stretch, you’ll need to grab a hand towel. If you don’t want to have to limp to the kitchen or bathroom, you can keep the towel by your bed so you can use it every morning. Fold the towel so that it will lie flat against the bottom of your foot. To start the stretch, hold one end of the towel in each hand. Then, bend the knee of the affected leg so that you can place the middle of the towel around the arch of your foot. Once the towel is in position, pull it toward you gently until you feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and then release the pressure on the towel. For the best results, you should repeat this stretch at least three times, and you can also do it at other times throughout the day if your foot starts hurting.
Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help you learn other physical therapy exercises for plantar fasciitis
Our team at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation has experience with many therapy techniques, and this allows us to treat a wide range of injuries and medical conditions. We have therapists who have experience using many different physical therapy exercises to treat plantar fasciitis. To determine which exercises or techniques will work best for you, we’ll perform a complimentary screening of your condition. Then, we’ll use this information to create the best therapy plan for your needs. In addition to therapy exercises, the plans we create can include:
Take the next step to get our help with your plantar fasciitis. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.