Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Foot Stretches to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Rest is the first treatment for plantar fasciitis. Try to keep weight off your foot until the inflammation goes away. You can also apply ice to the sore area for 20 minutes three or four times a day to relieve your symptoms. Often a doctor will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.

A program of home exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia are the mainstay of treating the condition and lessening the chance of recurrence. Below you will find several foot stretches courtesy of the Mayo Foundation. As always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.

Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds — don't bounce — and do one or two repetitions two to three times a day.

Clockwise from upper left:

1. To strengthen arch muscles, place a towel on the floor, grab the towel with your toes and pull it toward you.

2. While sitting, grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Stretch one foot at a time.

3. Stand as shown, with your back leg straight and heel down. Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Switch legs and repeat.

4. Stand on a step near the bottom of your stairs, put your weight on the ball of one foot and slowly lower that heel until you feel your calf muscle stretching. Repeat on the other side.

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