If you are a runner, sooner or later you will encounter heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. While there is no cure, simple exercises can take care of it.
Plantar fascia is the tissue band running along the bottom of the foot. Excessive walking, running, or irritation can inflame the tissues, causing severe heel pain. See my previous article on Treating Heel Pain with simple exercises. Here is another, very effective heel-leg stretch. Similar to others, this stretch takes less than 2 minutes.
I start my day with this and other stretches, as I sip my morning chai. You need either an exercise band (used in demo), a yoga or karate belt, or what I use at home – an old bicycle inner tube.
Goal To stretch the plantar fascia running along the bottom of your feet. The plantar fascia is not an isolated structure, but wraps around the heel, connects with the achilles tendon, calf muscles, up behind the knee, the hamstrings and your glutes. During this exercise, all these get stretched.
1. Sit upright with your back against a wall, legs stretched out in front, feet are hip distance apart.
2. Loop the belt around the forefoot, just below the ball of the foot and firmly pull the foot back towards you. Keep your knee pressed to the floor.
3. Feel the stretch from the heel, the calf muscles and your hamstrings. As you straighten your back, you should feel the stretch in your glutes and lower back.
4. Breathe. Hold the stretch for a count of 15.
5. Release and stretch other foot/leg.
6. Repeat cycle once more. Takes less than 2 minutes total.