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August 11, 2011 posted by

How To Treat (and Avoid) Plantar Fasciitis

Here’s a decent little video on what plantar fasciitis is and how to treat it in its acute phase. What it doesn’t cover is how to get rid of it or, better yet, prepare your body so that you don’t get it in the first place. Once you get it there’s no way around a fairly lengthy rehab process and it’s not all that hard to avoid. Here are a few exercises that, when done regularly, will greatly reduce the chance of you getting plantar fasciitis. When you have it, these are also your go-to movements.

A,B,Cs: I hate it when doctors prescribe this exercise as a treatment for foot injuries. Not because it’s bad but because once you have foot issues you must get more aggressive with your rehab and this tends to get prescribed the most only because it’s simple. All you do is draw the alphabet with your feet in the morning before getting out of bed. If I’m spending a lot of time on my feet—like when I’m running ultras—I’ll do the alphabet both forward and backwards, slowly. It’s a great warm-up for your feet prior to getting out of bed.

In and outs: While A,B,Cs are a great warm-up, you need to strengthen all the muscles of your foot and ankel so that it doesn’t collapse, which is probably how you got PF in the first place. This exercise can be done anytime and anywhere. Sit with your legs parallel about two fist widths apart, feet flat. Rotate your toes inward as far as they can go, forcing your weight onto the outside of your foot. Now rotate out as far as you can go, forcing weight onto the inside of your foot. Do 50 reps daily until this is easy. Then you only need to do it once in a while to ensure you haven’t lost your strength.

Towel Crunches: I use a hand towel (wash cloth). Sit as above with a small towel on the ground in from of you with the edge under your toes. Use your toes to crunch up the towel as small as you can get it. Then use your toes to flatten it back out. Do 25 if you can. If not, that is the benchmark of strength you are looking for.

Toe raises: Stand with your back flat against a wall, feet together, flat on the ground, out in front of you about a foot or so. Now raise your toes while keeping your back presses flat against the wall. This works the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of your leg, which helps balance flexor/extensor leg strength and will also keep you from getting shin splints. Do 50 a day until they feel easy, then do them once a week or so for maintenance.

16 Comments

  • Thanks for this article Steve..this confirms for me that I have been misdiagnosed with PF, although my doctor won't listen. However, These exercises sound like a good idea overall for folks who train, to keep their feet strong and healthy!

  • Everyone should do them until their feet can meet the strength benchmarks. Shoes are nice and all but can exacerbate weaknesses, so feet need to be trained like everything else.

  • Thank you for this info I have been fighting this and feel this will really help me. Do you know of any exercises I can do to help my tendons in my elbows? I hurt my right elbow doing wide pull ups

  • Thanks Steve! I had issues back when I was training for a 70.3 Ironman. What helped me was really working on my calves. I learned about that from the folks at Trigger Point Therapy. Daily massage with their tools and the issue went away. From feeling like I was standing on a rock at the worst, to pain in morning, to nothing. Their philosophy is that as the calf tightens and loses elasticity through adhesions, etc it pulls against the facia causing the pain. When those with PF wake up, their calf is tight, and they have the pain. When they get warmed up, it feels substantially better. The massage bottom of foot, all those things didn't really take care of it, like getting at the root for me. It came from running, cycling and sitting so much as work. Just my two cents. Thanks for all you do!

  • Keith, Muscle tightness comes from imbalance more often than not–it always has some association. An underdeveloped antagonistic development will cause more work (over contraction), hence the TV muscle exercises. Massage, etc, is always great and helpful but if you don't strength opposing muscles it will happen again.

  • Have you tried radial wave therapy? It cured me in less than 7 weeks.

  • Have you tried radial wave therapy? It cured me in less than 7 weeks.

  • Can you link a photo or image for "ins and outs"? I'm having trouble understanding what to do from the instructions.

  • I was diagnosed with PF in college, almost 20 years ago, and have worn orthotics ever since. I'm excited to try out these exercises!! Thank you!

  • I was wondering Steve, have you ever had plantar fasciitis before?

  • I have, at it's a pain to get rid of, but if I'd know this stuff I wouldn't have gotten it in the first place.

  • We offers prime services and solutions, with the goal of providing the best and latest technology in Plantar Fasciitis at highly competitive prices.

  • my doctor advised never going barefoot and wearing special insoles after my pf flare-up , but when I did my own research, i learned that walking barefoot was a great way to strengthen the ligaments. So I did. Also used this sock at night that keeps you foot flexed – that was great. will try these exercises to make sure it never comes back. Hella painful!

  • IT bands are great too. Even doing the ABCs with one adds that much more to a simple yet effective workout.There is also a foot jig that you can buy that stretches your foot out while you sleep. That pretty much solved my problem, combined with a daily commitment to stretch out my feet.

  • The towel exercise confused me. You should repost that! I am going to try all of these…Thanks for the inputS

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