Relieving Plantar Pain
Written by Cat Blatner
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, you know all too well the sharp pain that comes from having tightness in your plantar fascia. Usually you will experience a sharp pain in the heel of your foot during or after repeated exercises such as running or jumping. Plantar fasciitis can feel much worse first thing in the morning because of the way you positioned your feet while you were sleeping. Throughout the night, your foot was most likely being held in plantar flexion. This will constrict the fascia under the foot for an extended period of time causing the fascia to shorten. This is why you might feel that intense stabbing pain as you try to bring your ankle into dorsiflexion and start walking around in the morning. As you move around throughout the day, the pain will sometimes subside or feel better simply because you are moving and getting blood to the area.
When you get up first thing in the morning it is vital that you take a few minutes to perform your fascia releasing stretches and mashing. This can help relieve some of the pain first thing in the morning as well as prevent onset of pain later on in your day. Try some of these drills and stretches to see if they help you out!
Stretching the Bottom of the Foot
Sit down and cross the leg of your affected foot to the top of your opposite leg. Place one hand on your toes and the opposite hand on the back of your heel. From here, pull your toes back towards your shin bone causing flexion in the ankle, stretching the achilles as well as a good stretch to the plantar fascia. Hold this stretch for about 5-10 seconds, release for 5-10 seconds and repeat for about 5 cycles.
Mashing the Calves
Tight calves will definitely hinder your progress when it comes to plantar fasciitis. Have a super friend help you roll out your calves using either a barbell (yes, I know, ouch) or a rolling stick!
Mash Your Feet
Using a lacrosse ball roll out the bottom of your feet. Direct your focus to the middle longest portion of your foot between your heel and the ball of your feet. Gently massage the area applying more weight to the lacrosse ball as you can handle it. Move the ball forward and back as well as side to side. This will help break through scar tissue and adhesions that may be restricting your fascia to lengthen.
Stretch It Out
Place your toes up on a wall or some vertical surface with your heel on the floor. Shift your hips forward to force the ankle into a flexed position. This will stretch the bottom of your foot, the achilles and the calf all at once!
Be diligent with your daily stretches. If you start feeling relief, continue to stretch and mash to ensure that your pain does not return. Good luck!