The plantar fascia is a ligament that attaches the front of your foot to your heel. For many people, this thin strip of tissue can cause large amounts of pain. Over half of all Americans report pain in their heels. Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain.
This is one of the most common orthopedic conditions. With constant use, your plantar fascia sustains wear and tear over time. Plantar fascia inflammation can cause severe discomfort in the heel.
This condition is common among runners and other athletes who use their heels extensively. But plantar fasciitis also affects pregnant women because they often carry extra weight.
Fortunately, there are ways to ease the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Below, we will discuss a few useful stretches for soothing heel pain.
Stretching the Calves
Stretching the muscles that are close to the inflamed ligament can help to ease discomfort.
To stretch your calves, take the following simple steps:
- Stand with arms outstretched and palms against a wall
- Place your left foot behind your right foot
- Gently bend your right leg toward the wall
- Keep your left knee straight and heel on the floor
- Hold the stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds
- Switch the position of your legs and stretch again
Repeat each calf stretch three times. This stretch works the soleus muscle in the lower part of your calf.
Stretching the Plantar Fascia
You can stretch the plantar fascia directly by using the following seated stretching exercises:
Foam Roller Stretch: Sit straight on a chair and roll the bottom of your foot over a round foam roller. You can also use a cold beverage can or frozen bottle of water. Repeat for one minute and then switch feet.
Big Toe Stretch: Sit straight on a chair and cross your legs. Gently grab your big toe and pull it toward your body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, but no longer. Reverse your position and do the same with the other foot.
These simple stretches can help to ease the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.