Plantar fasciitis or fasciopathy is a widespread foot condition seen at Hawthorn Physiotherapy Clinic. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis doesn’t discriminate. We see this condition in everyone, ranging from your casual golfer walking on the neverending grassy course to the overzealous marathon runner. 

It may start as a bit of a nuisance around the heel but can quickly become a chronic debilitating condition that stops you from moving. This is why it’s essential to address this type of problem as soon as possible.

Finding the correct exercise is a crucial component of recovery. However, like other conditions, there are other factors to consider for a complete recovery plan (please talk to our physiotherapists about this). Being persistent with your exercises is critical for success. Improvement from plantar fasciitis is often a slow healing process but will eventually heal for most people. 

Fortunately, this article has been written to help kick-start your journey to recovery. Below are three exercises to help relieve pain and improve your plantar fasciitis symptoms. 

  1. Plantar fascia release with a golf ball

The plantar fascia is a web of tissue that spans from the heel to the base of the toes. Those with plantar fasciitis experience pain and thickening of this fascia. You can expect mild but immediate relief from your symptoms by performing this exercise. Pressure from the golf ball applied underneath the foot has significant benefits, including increased blood flow, blocking pain signals and improved foot flexibility. 

You don’t necessarily need a golf ball. Anything spherical and hard will be enough. Avoid pressure through the heel, only the sole and arches of the foot. 

We recommend performing this movement for 1-3 minutes, for around 3-5 sessions a day. Many patients report this to be an excellent way to start the morning!

2. Calf stretch

Tight lower leg muscles can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Poor ankle flexibility (especially dorsiflexion or the ability to lift your ankle upwards) is a common feature in those with this condition. As supported by research [1], one potential reason could be tight calf muscles. Routinely stretching out your calf muscles may help improve calf tightness, increase ankle flexibility and ease your plantar fasciitis pain. 

3. Calf Raises on a Rolled Up T-Shirt

Stretching alone may not be enough to create positive, long-lasting changes. The plantar fascia has many roles, including shock absorption and maintaining good foot posture. Strengthening the foot and calf muscles can help reinforce these duties. Over time, performing calf raises in a stretched position can help heal any degenerative changes along the plantar fascia [2]. Some patients have found that these activities may initially be difficult and painful, so your physio must make specific changes for you. 

So, what’s next?

No single exercise is likely to CURE your plantar fasciitis. Everybody is different. Factors such as age, fitness and your goals can impact what treatment plan may be the best option for you. On top of exercise, there may be other recommendations that can help fast-track your recovery. 

If you have terrible plantar fasciitis and/or heel pain, you must get it checked out by one of our friendly physiotherapists at Hawthorn Physiotherapy. We’ll thoroughly assess and create a customised plan to help you get back to your normal self.

To make a booking, click here or call us on 9819 2827.