This Personal Trainer Says You Can Fix Plantar Fasciitis In 15 Minutes — Here's How
Ever wake up in the morning, step out of bed, and feel a sharp pain on the bottom of your foot? How about a similar pain after sitting for a really long time? Last question: Ever hear of plantar fasciitis? It might be that.
Itis just means "inflammation." In this case, it's referring to an inflammation in the plantar fascia.
If you take off your shoe and sock and look at the bottom of your foot, you'll notice just under that skin is a band of connective tissue called plantar fascia. It makes a little triangle from your heel up to the ball of your foot, just behind your toes. It's responsible for supporting your arch, allowing the carriage of your body weight, and absorbing shock when your foot strikes the ground.
The thing is, if you're suffering from plantar fasciitis, there may be more factors at play than just the tissue on the bottom of your foot. These exercises address them all to help relieve, and maybe even help prevent, plantar fasciitis—all in just 15 minutes. All you'll need is a ball (you can use a lacrosse ball, but I prefer Fitness Tune-Up Balls because they have a better grip and density), a wall, a bench or bed, and a bucket of ice water.
What we're going to do is free up the tissue on the bottoms of your feet, give slack to that same tissue by working on the tissue just above your feet, and open your hips. All you need to do is perform the following steps on each side:
Step 1: Arches
From a standing position, place the arch of your foot on the therapy ball and spread your toes out. Apply as much pressure as you can handle and roll back and forth from your heel to the ball of your foot, working your way back and forth as well as side to side, from the inside to outside edge.
Then, grind the therapy ball against the bottom of your heel. Finally, go left and right across the ball of your foot. Continue this for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 2: Anterior Tibialis
From a standing position, place the tops of your toes on the floor and hold pressure down (picture trying to crack your toes while standing). Hold here and then start moving your ankle left and right. You should feel a stretch in your ankle and up the front of your shin. Continue for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3: Calf and Achilles Tendon
Stand facing a wall. Keep your heel on the floor and place the ball of your foot against the wall. Straighten your leg and move your hip closer to the wall. You should feel a stretch in the calf and Achilles. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 4: Achilles Tendon
Sit or lie down and point your foot, then use one or both of your hands to pin the Achilles tendon back (it should kind of look like you're choking your Achilles). Hold it back and flex your foot. It should almost feel like you're giving yourself a rope burn. If you're actually giving yourself a rope burn, and it hurts, use lotion. Repeat the action for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 5: Posterior Tibialis
Sit down and cross your ankle over your knee. Place the ball just behind your shinbone (the portion closer to your calf) below your knee. Working in a back and forth grinding motion, make your way down this area to just above your ankle. Continue for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 6: Hips
This is basically a pigeon pose. Place your shin on a bench or bed at a 90-degree angle with your other leg extending behind you, foot on the floor. Reach your torso forward. Hold for 2 minutes.
Step 7: Ice Bath
Submerge your entire foot in a bucket of ice water for 2 to 5 minutes.
And there you have it! After these exercises, you should be able to go about your normal day, hopefully pain-free.
Adam Rosante, CPT, CSCS, C.N., is a personal trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and philanthropist. He is also the founder of Good Eats, a not-for-profit that feeds hungry kids on the weekends, as well as the founder of Project Strength, a not-for-profit that uses fitness as the modality to help at-risk youth recognize their potential and realize their dreams. He is on the advisory board for Shape Magazine, and he has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Redbook, Glamour, Elle, Cosmo, O, Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Naturally Danny Seo, Men's Journal, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, NBC, ABC, and Yahoo. Adam is also the bestselling author of The 30-Second Body: Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Live Hard.