Plantar Fasciitis flareups can last a really long time, and though we try to take it easy at first, there’s only so much resting and icing a person can take! This is especially the case for runners, but the truth is that all Plantar Fasciitis sufferers need to start to exercise at some point.
Most sufferers will experience the most acute pain when they first get up and out of bed in the morning. The pressure of your body weight causes the plantar fascia to stretch to its full extent much too suddenly, and that can result in a fresh flare-up every morning. While good nutrition and a decent protein shake in your mixer go a long way to healing your body from the inside, A quick warm-up exercise routine can help get your feet off to the best possible start.
The Cool Hundred – 100 Stretches To Do Before You Rise
It sounds like a lot, but the whole routine only takes a couple of minutes and the resulting looseness in your plantar fascia is well worth the investment. These exercises are meant to help you improve your pain, however (and especially if your pain doesn’t subside when you do them), it’s always important to talk to a good podiatrist about starting any new routine.
25 Toe Scrunch and Splay
Before you get up, before you put any weight on your feet at all, first sit on the edge of your bed with your feet lifted off the floor. Scrunch your toes tight as if you’re making fists with your toes, then splay them upwards in the opposite motion. Do 25 scrunches and 25 splays with both feet.
25 self-mobilizing foot flexes
Rest one ankle on the opposite knee, weave the fingers of the opposite hand between your toes, while you support the heel with the same-side hand. Use your hand to flex the toes, adding a little extra pressure to stretch out that fascia. Then pull the toes downwards into an assisted scrunch. Do this whole movement 25 times.
25 Ball Rolls
Using a small, hard ball such as a baseball or street hockey ball, place both feet on the ground while still sitting. Put the ball under one foot, and exert a medium amount of pressure as you roll your foot straight backwards and forwards over the ball, all the way from your toes to your heel and back, 25 times on each foot.
25 Heel And Toe Raises
with both feet flat on the floor, start to shift your weight onto them as you raise your toes then your heels 25 times. Increase the pressure as you go on, until you’re standing while you raise your toes. Then put your toes down and raise your heels so that you’re up on your toes, and end up standing up next to your bed.
Once you’re up, you should feel that the pain you used to experience has diminished a lot. Take your time so you don’t over-stretch, but you should find that you’re able to do more in the way of exercise after warming up your feet in this way. If you don’t, it’s time to book your next podiatrist visit!
Exercises To Focus On
At the gym, don’t go straight to the treadmill during a flareup! This is the time to use the weight machines for strengthening the rest of your body, as you’ll often be seated or supported while you isolate muscle groups. Anything that keeps the weight off your feet is acceptable, just make sure that you’re not creating an imbalance by focussing on just one body area.
When muscle building, it’s important to nourish your body while still at the gym with a good sports nutrition shake to help build lean muscles while reducing inflammation.
Other Exercise Options
Pilates, especially mat work based classes, will lengthen and tone your body without putting too much pressure on the feet. Be careful when you do Yoga however, as some moves (Downward dog, Warrior, etc) can cause quite a strong stretch to the foot and may cause more pain.
Taking care during a flare-up will allow your feet to heal faster and more thoroughly, so that you’re able to fully return to your previous level of activity.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (csp.org.uk)