Tips to Recover from Plantar Fasciitis
But it did work. I just read up and bought a few things to help me recover. And VOILA, I was up and running again (though the mileage was quite less initially, but nevertheless I was running).
Let me tell you what is Plantar Fasciitis(PF). PF is a overuse injury. I know mine started when a couple of days prior to a 35 km run, I did some hill repeats on a trail. My foot pained thereafter but I ignored it. And on the long run, after 15 km I sat on the footpath holding my foot and unable to even walk. Plantar Fascia is a thick band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot. When sudden increase in mileage or hill running takes place or some other reason, it gets a small tear in the tissue. This tear leads to number of other tears and resulting in a sudden shooting pain in the heel.
It really helps to read up on any injury one might be battling with. I did a fairly accurate diagnosis of my situation. And I will confess that I never saw a Foot Doctor. Yes, I am guilty of that charge. Though it is not advisable to do a self treatment if the injury goes out of hand.
Below I have given some stretches and strengthening exercises which I did for the calf and Plantar Fascia.
1. Calf Raise and Heel Drop
It’s a very simple exercise to do. Just stand on your toes for few seconds and come down to normal position. One can do it while standing on the edge of a raised platform so that the heels can go down to give a nice stretch to the calf. It can be done anywhere like brushing or shaving, waiting at bus stop, in the office or in the elevator. Aim to do as many as you can, till you feel a bit sore. A variation is to do on single leg to gain more benefit but the transition should be gradual.
2. Standing Calf Stretch
Push the wall, literally. Stand next to a wall or a pole and lean on to it with one leg forward. As you do it, experience a stretch in the calf muscle. I keep doing this stretch in between my warm up jog to loosen up my calf, in case I feel any tightness.
3. Toe Yoga
It looks difficult at the start but comes by easily after some practice. Sit or stand barefoot. Now lift your big toe finger of the leg by driving the rest of the four fingers in the ground. If you are not able to do then you can press those four fingers with your hand to isolate the big toe. Then next step is to drive the big toe in the ground and raise the four fingers. It’s an excellent small but effective exercise to activate those muscles in the foot. Keep doing it until you can do without the help of your hands.
4. Toe Curls
Again a simple exercise to wake up and strengthen the plantar fascia. Place foot on a towel or cloth and perform curls i.e try to pull the cloth towards yourself with the help of toes. A variation can be that you can curl the toe and turn ankle inside and outside without shifting the heel. And to further the strengthening, place a light weight on the cloth to be pulled by the toe.
5. Single Leg Balance
Sounds simple, right. Stand barefoot on one leg and place heel of other leg on the inner thigh or calf or simply, let it hang in air. Now close your eyes for 30 seconds to start with. The balancing act will strengthen and activate the foot and ankle muscles. Increase the time gradually as balance becomes better. You can do it practically anywhere like I do while brushing in the morning. TIP – try to grab as much ground with your leg fingers as possible.
6. Plantar Fascia Stretch
Put one leg on another and pull the fingers of foot towards the leg giving the Plantar Fascia a nice stretch. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds and return to normal position. Do it as much as possible throughout the day or when feeling any tightness in Plantar Fascia or pain in the heel. Also do it first thing in the morning before placing foot on the ground.
7. Ball Roll
Roll a golf or tennis ball under the foot to release the tight spots in the foot. I include this in my pre and post run routine to keep the Plantar Fascia loose. In fact, I, most of the times, carry a tennis ball in my bag to where ever I am travelling.
8. Barefoot Running
I also tried barefoot running but at a later stage after I felt my calves are strong enough to handle the strain. Running barefoot seems to have strengthen my foot muscles. The amount of run is quite minimal i.e a couple of 100 metres in a football ground.
9. Arch Raisers
Stand or sit barefoot with feet flat on the floor. Now push the big toe in the ground and keeping the other fingers also lightly grounded. You will feel tensing up of the arch of the feet. Hold it for 10-15 seconds and repeat a couple of times.
These are the stretches and exercises which I did and still do to recover from Plantar Fasciitis. It will now be a continuous process for as long I am going to run. I also bought a few items to help me recover.
It keeps the calf in a normal flexed position. I could not find a Strassberg Socks so bought a splint instead but it did the trick of immobilising my leg below knee. It was a miracle cure for me. I used it for a couple of months.
These prevent over – pronation and release tension on the Plantar Fascia. It’s a everyday use insole. I wore it while running and during the working hours initially. But now, I have stopped using it and lies in my store, in case of re occurrence.
Apart from the exercises I have given above, there are few issues or guidelines I am following to stay loose.
I read somewhere that most of the time, origin of most of the sports related injury starts from weak core. So, it is imperative for any sportsman to devote a lot of time on strengthening the core region.
2. Warm up
After occurrence of PF, I now concentrate on lot of dynamic warm up exercises to ensure loosening of Plantar Fascia.
I have a frozen bottle of water which I use specially for rolling under the foot. It’s a great pain relief and loosening aid.
4. Avoid hills and speed work initially, till atleast a couple of months.
Stretch the calves as much as possible, throughout the day.
6. Reduce Weight
Avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a stretch because it leads to tightening of glutes, hamstring and calves and resultant tightening of Plantar Fascia.
Do you have any questions, please do ask or any suggestion, please do share. Till the stay fit and keep running.