For people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, strengthening and stretching of the heel and calf muscles has proven to be an effective treatment method. Used alongside of other prescribed treatments, these stretches have been shown to reduce the recovery time and provide long term pain relief. These stretches are easy to perform and require very little in the way of equipment, so patients should be able to perform them at home with little or no supervision.
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Standing about arms length away from a wall, the patient places both hands on the wall and then moves the affected leg backwards, keeping the foot flat on the floor and the leg straight as much as possible. As the leg moves back the calf muscles will begin to stretch as long as the patient is trying to keep the foot flat. Once a definite sensation of stretching is felt, but not so much that the patient is in pain, the position should be held for about 10 seconds. The patient should then relax the muscle and then repeat this exercise about 20 times.
Stair Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis
The patient stands on a stair with half of each foot on the stair and half off. The patient slowly lowers the ball of their foot, stretching out the calf muscle until just below the point of pain. This position is held for 20 seconds and then the muscle is relaxed. The exercise should be repeated 15-20 times and also helps to strengthen the calf muscles.
Slant Boards for Plantar Fasciitis
The patient stands straight up facing upwards on a small ramp that has about a 30 degree grade. The patient should stand on this ramp for several minutes, keeping the legs and body straight. The ramp can be placed somewhere the patient will be for a long time, such as in the kitchen or in the living room while watching TV. Standing on the ramp in this manner will stretch out the calf muscles in both legs.
Towel Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis
The patient sits on a bed or chair and extends their leg in front of them, keeping it is as straight as possible. A towel is then draped around the foot just above the ball of the foot. Taking each end of the towel in one hand, the patient then pulls toward their body, stretching both the calf and the plantar fascia.
One of the most important factors in relieving Plantar Fasciitis pain is the strengthening and stretching of the calf muscles as well as the plantar fascia itself. By performing simple stretches that can easily be done at home, most patients shorten their total recovery time and reduce the amount of pain associated with the condition.