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Thread: Great Moves for Plantar Fasciitis page

  1. #1
    Digby's Avatar
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    Great Moves for Plantar Fasciitis

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    Success, with patience. After a year of therapy I still had lingering pf and thanks to advice from this forum got much better keeping my arch taped or using an elastic arch support band, doing 90 second stretches--and using the following exercises. The toe walking especially was great because I easily could do it several times a day. I wish had done these a while before I had two useless cortisone shots in my heel, wasted time, money, and considerable pain. PF is chronic and needs regular stretching, but patience prevails. I also got deep massage, walked on the beach, did lots of icing, and electrical stimulation with a TENS unit over the last several months. Think the exercise/stretches, and supporting the arch did the most, but I will try everything, you never know what will work for you. Here they are (source at bottom):

    PLANTAR FASCIITIS EXERCISES


    C. The Rotational Plantar Fascia Stretch
    Stand barefoot, with your feet hip-width apart and with your left foot in a slightly forward position - two to three inches ahead of your right foot. The bottoms of the toes of your left foot should be in contact with a wall in front of you (the wall should be creating a forced dorsiflexion of the toes, so that the sole of the left foot is on the ground but the toes are on the wall), and your left knee should be bent slightly. Keep your weight evenly distributed between your right and left foot to start the exercise (see note below). You are now ready to begin the stretch.

    Slowly rotate your left foot to the inside (pronation) so that most of the weight is supported by the 'big-toe side' of the foot. Then, slowly rotate your left foot to the outside (supination), shifting the weight to the 'little-toe side' of your foot. Repeat this overall movement for a total of 15 repetitions.

    Next, simply repeat the above sequence with your right foot.
    Note: As you become more comfortable with this exercise, gradually shift more of your weight forward onto the forward, 'stretched' foot and ankle. This shift in weight will increase the intensity of the stretch.

    What is the value of this stretch? The plantar fascia runs the length of the foot from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the toes. During a running stride, the plantar fascia undergoes a rather sudden lengthening and then shortening during the landing phase - much like a rubber band that is suddenly stretched and then allowed to shorten. This 'elastic' event requires the plantar fascia to be sufficiently supple and strong to handle such stress without breaking down. Insufficient elasticity in the plantar fascia combined with the tendency to over-pronate (which puts extra stretch on the plantar fascia) is a nearly foolproof formula for pf problems. This plantar fascia stretch utilizes both rotational and sagittal (front-to-back) stretching in order to develop flexibility in both the transverse and sagittal planes - the primary planes in which the structures of the foot and lower leg function during running. Regular use of this stretch helps the plantar fascia better withstand the key twisting and lengthening forces which are placed on it.

    II. Strengthening Exercises for the Plantar Fascia
    A. Toe Walking with Opposite-Ankle Dorsiflexion
    Barefoot, stand as tall as you can on your toes. Balance for a moment and then begin walking forward with slow, small steps (take one step every one to two seconds, with each step being about 10 to 12 inches in length). As you do this, maintain a tall, balanced posture. Be sure to dorsiflex the ankle and toes of the free (moving-ahead) leg upward as high as you can with each step, while maintaining your balance on the toes and ball of the support foot. Walk a distance of 20 metres for a total of three sets, with a short break in between sets.

    Why is this exercise valuable? The muscles of the feet require good strength to control the forces associated with landing on the ground during the running stride. This toe-walking exercise helps to develop the eccentric (support) strength and mobility in the muscles of the foot and calf, as well as the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon (eccentric strength means hardiness as these structures are being stretched out). The exercise also works the foot and ankle through a broad range of motion, especially for the foot which is bearing weight on the ball and toes while the ankle is extended (is in plantar flexion). The exercise also improves balance and stability, which are critical factors for runners hoping to improve their efficiency of movement.

    B. Toe Grasping
    To perform this exercise, stand barefoot with your feet hip-width apart. In an alternating pattern, curl the toes of your right foot and then your left foot down and under, as though you are grasping something with the toes of each foot. Repeat this action (right foot, left foot, right foot, etc.) for a total 50 repetitions with each foot. Rest for a moment, and then complete two more sets. Try pulling yourself across the floor (smooth surfaces work best) for a distance of three to six feet as you become more skilled at this exercise.

    What is the value of toe grasping? Toe grasping develops strength, coordination and flexibility in the muscles of the foot that run parallel to the plantar fascia and help support the longitudinal arch of the foot. This exercise also strengthens selected stabilizing muscles of the calf and shin. Your range of motion during the 'grasping' action will improve over time, as will the range of motion of the entire foot.

    Overall, your strategy should be to strengthen the plantar fascia and related structures in your feet and legs, as well as improve their flexibility in all planes of motion. By doing so, you will take stress of your plantar fasciae and be less prone to fasciitis. Please bear in mind, though, that if you currently have a tough case of pf, you will need to start slowly with the exercises to avoid aggravating your condition. If the exercises themselves produce pain, stop immediately!
    Final points
    1. If your friendly neighbourhood surgeon says you have heel spurs which need to be removed, beware! It's important to remember that heel spurs themselves do not usually cause heel pain. In a recent study, it was determined that about 21 per cent of the adult population has at least one heel spur (!), yet few of these individuals reported actual heel pain.

    2. In forthcoming issue, we'll tackle the question of whether custom orthotics are good for pf and various other running injuries. In the meantime, bear in mind that prescribing orthotics for pf is like saying that the key problem which produces pf is always in the feet. This is certainly not true: as we mentioned earlier, tight hamstrings can cause pf, and prescribing orthotics for taut hamstrings is nonsense! You've got to think of your plantar fascia as being part of an interactive chain of muscles and connective tissues which runs from your hip down through your toes. If you want to stay away from pf, the whole system must be taken into account - and worked on. In addition, even if your pf problem is truly the result of 'weak feet', does it make more sense to install appliances under your feet and forget about correcting the weakness - or work diligently on overall foot (and leg) strength?!

    3. Always remember that icing, anti-inflammatories, reduced training, massage, etc. are temporary palliatives for pf. They do not cure the problem. The only true plantar-fasciitis elixir is an increase in the overall resiliency and strength of your legs and feet - so that pf just can't come back.

    Owen Anderson (text)*
    and Walt Reynolds (exercises)
    Plantar Fasciitis Exercise - It's simply an inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of the foot. | Sports Injury Bulletin
    This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Any given day you are surrounded by 10,000 idiots.
    Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism

  2. #2
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    Also look at utilizing a lacrosse ball...

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    SugarBaby's Avatar
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    I drop my heels on the bottom stair to get a good stretch. Had plantar fascitis years ago; no fun.
    WWW.SUGARAHOLICS.COM

    I was a sugarbaby; meaning since I was born I was given lots of sugar, and ate lots of processed foods, especially sweets until I was into my thirties. Most people in the west were/are sugarbabies.

    “How does today’s youngster educate his sense of taste? By submerging it in a sea of sugar from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed.” W. Root and Richard DeRochemont, Eating in America (1976)

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    I had plantar fasciitis once. Cured it within a month by applying lemongrass oil to the bottoms of my feet twice a day. The end.

    edit: why is it when i click on "reply to thread" it sometimes posts as a reply to someone other than the OP? So annoying.
    42 yo female; 5'8"
    Oct 2009: 205 lbs
    Dec 2010: 167 lbs
    Current weight: 158 lbs (first time under 160 in 17 years!!!)
    Goal weight: 145 lbs

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    What does the lemongrass oil do?
    WWW.SUGARAHOLICS.COM

    I was a sugarbaby; meaning since I was born I was given lots of sugar, and ate lots of processed foods, especially sweets until I was into my thirties. Most people in the west were/are sugarbabies.

    “How does today’s youngster educate his sense of taste? By submerging it in a sea of sugar from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed.” W. Root and Richard DeRochemont, Eating in America (1976)

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    Lemongrass is anti-inflammatory and regenerates ligaments and connective tissue, among other things. It also helped relieve the pain almost immediately after topical application to the bottom of the foot. And bonus, it smells lovely.
    42 yo female; 5'8"
    Oct 2009: 205 lbs
    Dec 2010: 167 lbs
    Current weight: 158 lbs (first time under 160 in 17 years!!!)
    Goal weight: 145 lbs

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