Foot injuries stretches

Plantar Fasciitis treatment – 6 easy ideas to try at home!

Plantar Fasciitis treatment

Plantar Fasciitis is painful and we are here to offer some easy to do at home plantar fasciitis treatment.

what is the plantar fascia

The term literally means inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of rigid tissue that extends from your heel to your toes. The function of this fascia is to help your foot transition from the shock absorption phase (heel contact to foot being flat) to becoming a rigid lever for push off as the heel rises and the toes bend.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common and troublesome injuries among runners. It is characterized by pain in the heel and / or arch. You will often feel the pain with the first few steps in the morning or when beginning to walk after sitting for a while.

Initially, the pain may ease as you warm up into your run. If you have a mild case you can usually continue training, a more stubborn case needs rest.

stretching as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Lots of stretching! Research has demonstrated that the plantar fascia stretch is more effective than calf stretches. In our experience it is essential to perform the plantar fascia stretch, as well as the bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day.

Also, perform a non-weight bearing calf stretch before walking or getting out of bed (as much as practically possible). By improving calf flexibility there will be less strain on the plantar fascia.

ice massage as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Ice massage is a very effective way to help reduce your pain. A good and easy ice massage technique is to use a frozen water bottle or orange. Place the bottle / orange on the floor and roll it under your foot until the bottom of your foot goes numb.

The orange is nice because the massage is a little more focused and the bottle is nice because it is very cold.

self massage for plantar fasciitis

Self-massage can also be quite helpful, especially before getting out of bed or before a run.

We prefer a technique where you use the heel of your hand to massage across the arch while flexing the big toe with your other hand.

If you prefer you can use inexpensive massage balls – designed for this very purpose, like this one. 

Using insoles as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) may be able to position the foot in a way that reduces strain on the plantar fascia.

The insoles can relieve the pressure of the heel, improve the bad functioning of the foot and reduce stress and stretch the ligament of plantar fasciitis that is the cause of discomfort.

Insoles like these from Dr Scholl – a market leader in these kind of products – are inexpensive and can be used in almost any type of footwear.

go barefoot!

Try walking barefoot in grass or on sand for 2-4 minutes after the initial painful period has subsided. This technique can be helpful to progress to the next level. This works for a couple of reasons…

First, walking on soft grass genlty bends and twists your foot stretching in ways that help workout tight muscles in the foot. Second, the gentle bending and twisting also strengthens the small muscles in the foot.

A strong butt

Bum strengthening exercises are important because you will lose strength in the gluteal muscles since you cant push off as firmly. This may lead to other injuries down the road (no pun intended).


A final consideration: Some arthritic conditions may have similar symptoms to plantar fasciitis. We would recommend that you talk to your doctor if you are concerned about this.

Good luck with your plantar fasciitis treatment and recovery!

other posts we think could help
  • How about more on stretching to solve the problem?
  • Self massage is a free and easy thing to try. Learn more here.
  • Our general principles of recovery information is a good basis for all running recovery.

Stretching for Runners – Controversies and benefits

Recent research has raised questions about the value of stretching. For instance, athletes who stretched before 100m sprint or maximal jump testing actually performed worse than if they performed warm up drills or didn’t stretch at all prior to the testing.

The majority of distance runners aren’t testing our vertical leap or our 100m times. Personally, I would be downright embarrassed to see my results.

These studies do highlight the benefit of performing warm up drills. The most valuable warm-up drills for runners include: easy running, cycling, cross-overs (sideways jogging with a cross over pattern of the feet), heel walking, skipping and shallow lunges.

While stretching prior to competition may not have a beneficial effect, regular stretching does appear to improve strength, jump height and running speed. Stretching for 15 to 30 seconds increases flexibility as much as stretches held for a longer time. Improved flexibility initially lasts approximately 90 minutes. However, if stretching is performed 3 to 5 days per week the gains may last for several weeks.

Gently stretching an injured area, as well as other tight muscles, can accelerate recovery from an injury. If you are injured, try to stretch at least twice per day.When stretching the injured area be gentle and only hold the stretch for five to ten seconds and repeat five times. To improve the flexibility of a tight muscle, hold the stretch for 15 to 30 and repeat three times.

Stretching has also been advocated to prevent injuries. While many individuals have made this observation, so far the research has not been able to verify it. One factor that does clearly reduce your risk of injury is to maintain a higher level of cardiovascular fitness throughout training, during the off-season, and when you’re recovering from an injury. In one study assessing basic trainees, those who were least fit were fourteen times more likely to sustain an injury than there more fit counterparts.

Interestingly, three studies have found that the most efficient runners (fastest) were the least flexible. The thought being that less flexible runners had a greater amount of elastic recoil and hence require less energy to propel forward.

Many of us have experienced muscle soreness after a harder run or race. Several strategies have been studied to determine the most effective method to reduce the soreness. Stretching actually has less research to support its value than any other method including: massage, acupuncture, Tylenol, anti-inflammatories, diathermy (a physical therapy heating treatment that is also used in horse racing) and electrical muscular stimulation.

Before making changes to your stretching program (or lack thereof) it is important to realize that the research on stretching is limited. There are many factors that affect running performance and injury occurrence that are difficult to assess in a study. If you have had success with your current stretching program, stick with it!

  • Maintain cardiovascular fitness to reduce your risk of future injury.
  • Perform warm up activities prior to running.
  • Genlty stretch an injured area twice per day. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat five to ten times.
  • Slow stretches held for 15 to 30 seconds may be more effective at improving flexibility.
  • Regular stretching may improve: strength, jump height and running speed.
  • Some tightness (especially the hip flexors) may actually improve your running economy.

Plantar fascia stretch – The Injured Runner

The plantar fascia stretch is performed by placing the foot you are stretching behind the other foot with the ball of the foot contacting the floor. Slowly move the knee forward and press the ball of your foot into the floor to prevent it from rising. You should feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five times.

Knees stretches

Bent knee calf stretch – The Injured Runner

 Keep your foot pointed straight forward as you slide your knee forward. Maintain your heel on the ground. You should fell stretch in the Achilles tendon or lower calf. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat three times

Butt pain Cross training stretches

Butt Strengthening – The Injured Runner

Butt strengthening is one of the most important things you can do to recover from or prevent a running related injury. Below we have posted three safe exercises that most runners can perform even when their knee is painful (do not perform these if it hurts your knee). These are exercises that you can perform on a daily basis and are arranged from easiest to most difficult. Start with 10 reps and progress to 30 or more.

Butt Lift


Lift your butt trying to make a straight line from your ankle to shoulder.

10 – 30x

Butt Lift / Ball Roll


Simultaneously lift your butt and roll the ball toward your butt.

Butt Lift March


Hold your butt up while alternately lifting your legs.


Leg injuries Recovery stretches

Hamstring Strain – The Injured runner


Hamstring Strain is a strain of the muscles on the back of the thigh and often a result of speed training or racing. You will usually feel a distinct tightening or pain in the middle third of the muscle. A hamstring strain can come on suddenly and send you limping off of the track or gradually as the result of cumulative strain from races or workouts.

A slight strain will allow you to continue running, but will recur if you begin speed training too soon. You are best off eliminating speed workouts for a week then resume gradually.

A more severe strain requires dedicated rehab since recurrence is so frequent with this injury. A recent study presented a promising new approach to hamstring rehab with quicker recovery and much lower recurrence. The authors of this study advocate having you work the hamstrings in different directions than they work with running. Trunk strengthening is also a component of this rehab program.

  • Core Strengthening – try the Plank for a quick, all around program. These are even good enough for women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe who was photographed performing the side position.
  • Agility – sidestepping, grapevine, and stepping forward and backward while moving sideways are great drills. In the study, participants performed three sets of one minute.
  • Single leg stand windmill touches – while standing on one leg, bend forward at the hip keeping your other leg in a straight line with your back, keep your arms out to the side and rotate your core to touch the toes – alternate arms. This exercise is excellent for balance, hamstring strengthening and flexibility.
  • Stretching – avoid direct stretching. Instead of standing and bending forward to touch your toes, slide your hips to the right and then bend forward. Next, slide your hips to the left and bend forward for the stretch.
  • Massage can helps speed recovery and promote proper healing.
  • Physical therapy treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation may also speed recovery.

Adductor stretch – The Injured Runner

The hip adductor stretch is performed by standing with your feet apart and slowly shifting your hips to one side. You should feel a stretch in the groin or inner thigh. You can vary where you feel the stretch by slightly changing the position of your foot or intensify the stretch by taking a wider stance. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five times.

Leg injuries Recovery stretches

Hamstring Stretches – The Injured Runner

Many runners have tight hamstrings. Tight hamstrings may be related to knee pain, butt pain and perhaps even heel pain. A great way to stretch the hamstrings and also protect your back can be performed by lying on your back next to a taller object or wall. Position your self so that the leg you are stretching is supported up against the object or wall. You can modify where you feel the stretch by varying the bend in your knee. If your knee is straighter you will fill the stretch more towards your knee. If your knee is flexed you will feel it towards your butt. Adjust the tension by sliding your body forward or backward. If you have tight hamstrings spend more time with this stretch, perhaps 3 to 5 minutes.


Hip Flexor Stretch – The Injured Runner

The hip flexor stretch is performed by placing one foot in front of the other. Slide your hips forward, being careful not to rotate or let your back arch, while maintaining an upright position of your back. You should feel a stretch across the front of your right hip. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five times.

Leg injuries Recovery stretches

IT Band stretch – The Injured Runner

For a stretch of the upper portion of your right IT band, cross your left foot in front of your right foot so that your left heel is near your right little toe. Slightly bend your right knee. While keeping your hips pointed straight forward slide them towards the right and tilt your shoulders to the left. You will most likely feel most of the stretch in the outer portion of the butt, and some stretch along the side of your thigh. Alter the bend in your right knee to get more stretch on the side of the thigh. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five times.

For a stretch of your right lower portion of the IT band, lie on your left side with your hips flexed 45 degrees. With your right hand reach down and grasp your right ankle. Pull your right ankle back and towards your butt until your thigh is in a straight line with your back. This is a powerful stretch; you may need to be cautious with how far you pull your heel towards your butt. Next, lower your right knee to the floor while maintaining your thigh in line with your back. You will feel quite a bit of stretch in the quadriceps muscle but should also feel stretch in the lower portion of the IT Band on the outer side of your knee. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five times.