Plantar fasciitis is a nagging injury food injury that often affects runners or people who spend a lot of tim on their feet. It is usually felt as pain in the heel or bottom of your foot and is typically worse with the first step you take in the morning. Plantar Fascia pain is an inflammatory process and if not resolved can become a chronic degenerative process. There can be several different causes such as overuse with running, lack of mobility and movement in the foot, or long term use of poorly fitting footwear.
Wearing comfortable shoes during acute flare ups of pain can help to help keep inflammation from becoming worse, but it's also important to spend time trying to mobilize and strengthen the muscles of the arch while barefoot to prevent long term issues with the plantar fascia and build up strength and capacity over time. Here are some ways to mobilize and strengthen the arch to help beat plantar fascia pain.
Use a lacrosse ball to roll out the bottom of your feet for a minute or two each day to mobilize the tight muscle surrounding the fascia.
Interlace your fingers between your toes and mobilize your toes forward and back to help stretch the muscles at the very end of your foot that connect to the plantar fascia and create more space between your toes.
A chiropractor or pt can mobilize the bones of your foot with an adjustment and also use tools to help loosen the muscles at the bottom of your foot.
Toe yoga: Start to build strength in the arch by practicing toe yoga. Start by standing up and spreading your toes as wide apart as you can. Next try to move just your big toe up in the air while your 4 little toes press into the ground, then try the opposite and push your big toe into the ground while trying to lift the four little toes. Do this with one foot at a time. You should feel the muscle at the bottom of your foot start to contract and may feel a cramping sensation. This exercise is best done in small frequent bursts throughout the day.
Single leg stance: Single leg balance is another exercise that can help build foot strength, always perform next to a wall or table so you can catch your balance if needed. If single leg balance feels easy, you can add a challenge by holding a small weight in your hands (about 5lbs) and passing it back and forth between your arms to make your balancing exercise more dynamic.
Calf raises: you can do these from the ground using your body weight and also do an eccentric version on the stairs letting the heel fall below the level of the step. Calf raises help strengthen the calf muscle complex and helps to support foot stability.
This is all just a part of what a plantar fasciitis rehab plan can look like. It’s important to get a correct diagnosis as many other conditions can mimic that of plantar fasciitis, but may have a completely different approach to care. While healing can take some time, stick with it! Giving some attention to your feet can have so many other healing benefits in your body that you may also start to notice with consistency!