Stretches for Heel Spur Syndrome/Plantar Fasciitis

Stretches for Heel Spur Syndrome/Plantar Fasciitis
Dr. Kelvin A. Barry Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) West Deptford, NEW JERSEY

Dr. Kelvin Barry is a podiatrist with 17 years of private practice experience. He is now practicing in South Jersey. Dr. Barry is a doctor specializing in the treatment of the foot , ankle and related parts of the leg. As a podiatrist, Dr. Barry diagnoses and treats conditions of the feet. The feet are key body parts... more

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to the front of your foot. The inflammation can be caused by a repetitive motion, such as running, step aerobics, or added pressure from gaining weight. Another, more common way it’s described is heel or arch pain. It often feels like a burning sensation shooting through the bottom of your foot.

There are conservative ways to manage plantar fasciitis, starting with rest, ice therapy and stretches exercises; you can do these and a combination of other modalities to bring you some relief from your heel pain.

Stretch your calves

  • Stand an arm’s length from a wall.
  • Place your right foot behind your left.
  • Slowly and gently bend your left leg forward.
  • Keep your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times.
  • Reverse the position of your legs, and repeat.

This stretch targets the gastrocnemius muscle in your calf. As your plantar fascia begins to heal and the pain diminishes, you can deepen this stretch by performing it with both legs slightly bent. Done this way, the stretch loosens the soleus muscle in the lower calf. It’s important not to hold the stretches for too long.

Sitting stretches for plantar fascia

While seated, with knees straight, use a belt or a towel (something that is not stretchy) and place it under the balls of the foot. Grab the ends of the towel (or belt) with both hands, and gently pull the tops of your feet toward you, as far back as possible without causing discomfort. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, and relax; repeat 6 times. In the event of pain in both heels, alternate sides back and forth until you do each foot at least 5-6 times.

I usually recommend patients to keep the towel or belt near their bed so they can perform this exercise at night before going to sleep and in the morning before getting up and taking those first steps.