Tips for Dealing with and Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

May 9th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

If you know how to pronounce “plantar fasciitis” you’re probably rolling your eyes or grimacing right now.  (If you can’t pronounce it, that’s okay: most people can’t either say it or spell it.  “Plantar” is phonetic but fasciitis gets confusing with all the “i”s in there: fash—eee—eye—tis.)

Plantar fasciitis is that painful condition in one or both feet that a lot of people have had to deal with at one time or another.  It’s a drag, to say the least.

You may feel it most when you first get out of bed in the morning and put your foot on the ground.  Your heel may hurt like the dickens throughout the day, and may feel worse as you stand or walk or climb stairs.

I’ve known a fair number of people who have given up on most exercise because of their incredibly painful feet.  (You can probably guess how I feel about that!!)


I’m in favor of doing things NOW before you’re in pain to strengthen the muscles and connective tissues in your feet so you can prevent plantar fasciitis from rearing its ugly head.

First of all, the plantar fascia is the strong connective tissue/band (fascia) connecting your toes/ball of your foot to your heel at bottom (plantar surface) of your foot.

As you take steps through the day and during your workouts, your foot naturally collapses inward and flattens out.  If the exercises are new, higher impact than you’re used to, or if your shoes don’t fit correctly or you aren’t wearing shoes at all, the plantar fascia can become overstressed and irritated and stop functioning correctly.

Then your heel will start to hurt.

Like I said, it’s a drag!

To strengthen your plantar fascia before it’s irritated and causing you problems, try these two little tricks when you’re on facebook or watching TV.  Remember, you’re in charge on these and if you’re already experiencing symptoms of an inflamed or irritated plantar fascia, see a podiatrist for medical advice tailored to your body.

  1. Toe Grabbies.  Put a washcloth on the floor and place your bare foot on the ground with your toes on the edge of the washcloth.  Try to move the washcloth under your heel without raising your foot or heel off the ground!
  2. Ball Rollies.  Place either a tennis ball (brave enough thank you very much) or a golf ball (more brave/pain tolerant) under your bare foot on the ground.  Roll it back and forth on any sore spots from at least 30 seconds to one minute at least once per day.  Start with this one sitting down before you try it standing up.  You are in charge of how much weight you put on the ball—you want the ball to be massaging your plantar fascia, not breaking anything, so be careful!

The names for these exercises are simply what I would call them in my own head—something about adding “-ies” to the end of words that signify something requiring effort makes the exercises seem like they require less effort.


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