Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Program For Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fascia Stretching Exercise

  1. Cross your affected leg over your other leg.
  2. Using the hand on your affected side, take hold of your affected foot and pull your toes back towards shin. This creates tension/stretch in the arch of the foot/plantar fascia.
  3. Check for the appropriate stretch position by gently rubbing the thumb of your unaffected side left to right over the arch of the affected foot. The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.
  5. Perform at least 3 sets of stretches per day. You cannot perform the stretch too often.

The most important times to stretch are before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a period of prolonged sitting.

Anti-inflammatory Medicine

Anti-inflammatory medicine will help decrease the inflammation in the arch and heel of your foot. These include: Advil®, Motrin®, Ibuprofen, and Aleve®.

  1. Use the medication as directed on the package. If you tolerate it well, take it daily for 2 weeks then discontinue for 1 week. If symptoms worsen or return, then resume medicine for 2 weeks, then stop.
  2. You should eat when taking these medications, as they can be hard on your stomach.

Arch Support

  1. Over the counter inserts (Spenco® Cross Trainers®), provide added arch support and soft cushion.
  2. Based on the individual needs of your foot, you may require custom inserts.

Additional Stretch: Achilles Tendon Stretch

  1. Place a shoe insert under your affected foot.
  2. Place your affected leg behind your unaffected leg with the toes of your back foot pointed towards the heel of your other foot.
  3. Lean into the wall.
  4. Bend your front knee while keeping your back leg straight with your heel firmly on the ground.
  5. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.
  6. Perform the stretch at least 3 times a day.

References:

  1. DiGiovanni BF, Nawoczenski DA, Lintal ME, Moore EA, Murray JC, Wilding GE, Baumhauer JF: Tissue-Specific Plantar Fascia-Stretching Exercise Enhances Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Heel Pain: A Prospective, Randomized Study. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 2003; 85A: 1270-77.
  2. DiGiovanni BF, Nawoczenski DA, Malay DP, Graci PA, Williams TT, Wilding GE, Baumhauer JF: Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Exercise Improves Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Prospective Clinical Trial with Two Year Follow-Up. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 2006; 88A: 1775-81.

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