Keys to Exercising with Plantar Fasciitis
• Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are usually worse after awakening. To reduce pain, it is recommended to start stretching your plantar fascia before getting out of bed. Before sitting up, flex your foot up and down 10 times. Follow this exercise with towel stretch. Put a long towel at the bedside before sleeping. Keeping your back straight, loop the towel around the top of the affected foot. Gradually pull the towel towards your body.
• After exercising, you may apply ice massage to the affected area or you may roll a cold soda over the arch of your foot for five minutes to relieve or prevent pain. Ice pack applications for 15 to 20 minutes are also recommended.
• Massage the plantar fascia by running your thumb or fingers along the fascia. It is best to ask your physical therapist to teach you how to do this technique appropriately.
• You may ask your athletic trainer or physical therapist to tape your plantar fascia for improved activity tolerance during exercise and weight bearing activities. Taping is also known to distribute the applied stress away from the fascia.
• Before exercising, do your warm up exercises, consisting of plantar fascia and heel cord stretches for 5 to 10 minutes. After exercising, do your cool down exercises for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Wear well-fitting and comfortable athletic shoes with good heel support when exercising. Choose shoes with excellent shock absorbing qualities.
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Rick Kaselj, MS