Plantar fasciitis exercises for runners is an effective treatment for foot pain relief and I’ll teach FIVE exercises in this post. If you’re a runner, there’s a 10% chance that you’re going deal with plantar fasciitis foot pain at some point in your running career. Foot pain resulting from plantar fasciitis has number of undesirable outcomes. It can cause you to decrease your mileage, run less frequently, and in some cases quit running.
We understand that runners are passionate about continuing to run. The last thing you want is go backwards in achieving your goals in distance or time. That’s why we’re doing a series of content on running injuries and giving you EXPERT advice. We want to teach you how to recover from running injuries like plantar fasciitis and to keep you doing what you love. Read on and learn these five plantar fasciitis exercises designed around improving your mobility and eliminating pain.
I show you my favorite exercises to fix plantar fasciitis in runners in this video.
Standing Calf Stretch
What’s the problem? A high volume of running causes tightness in your gastrocnemius and soleus (calf) muscles. This can alter your running mechanics and create tension down through the plantar fascia.
How do I do a standing calf stretch? First, stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step. Slowly, lower your heels until you feel a stretch in the calf and gradually push further in the stretch for a minute. To further target the stretch, stand only on one leg with the toes r of the other leg resting on top of your other foot. You can modify it by putting a small rolled-up towel beneath your big toe. Slowly transition between standing on your toes, and dropping back down to stretch.
Flexor Digitorum Brevis Strengthening
What’s the problem? Weakness often develops in the flexor digitorum brevis muscle on the bottom of the foot. This creates an imbalance in the form and function of the foot and ankle complex.
How do I strengthen the flexor digitorum brevis muscle? Sit down and place one end of the Theraband flat on the floor beneath your foot and heel. Grab the free end of the band and pull up towards your knee. This creates tension on your toes and forefoot. Against this resistance, force your toes downward. Relax, return to the start position, and repeat.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
What’s the problem? Adhesions in the connective tissue, like little scars, form in the plantar fascia. This may cause stiffness in there and keep it from supporting your arch properly.
How do I stretch the plantar fascia? Sit with the affected leg (where the plantar fasciitis is) crossed over the other. Pull your big toe back for 10 seconds. You can apply firm pressure and moving from toe to heel as you stretch.
Posterior Tibialis Strengthening
What’s the problem? The tibialis posterior muscle is underactive and/or weak which contributes to poor foot and ankle mechanics.
How do I strengthen the posterior tibialis muscle? Sit with your affected leg crossed over the other. Loop a Theraband over your forefoot. Trap the other end under your foot that’s on the floor. Stabilize your lower leg with one hand. Against the resistance, roll your involved foot upward like you’re looking at the bottom of your foot. Release and return to the starting position.
Eccentric Achilles Tendon Strengthening
What’s the problem? The Achilles tendon doesn’t have the capacity to handle the load that’s being placed on it.
How do I strengthen the Achilles tendon? Stand on your toes with the affected foot on the edge of a step. Don’t place any weight on your good leg, just use it for stability. Slowly lower your affected heel over a period of 4 seconds until you reach a fully stretched position. Use your other leg to get back on your toes. Some pain during this exercise is okay, but if the pain is significant, you can assist downward motion with the good leg.
How Often Should I Do Plantar Fasciitis Exercises?
I advise my patients to do these 5 plantar fasciitis exercises at least once a day. What about sets and repetitions? For the stretches shoot for 1-2 sets of 10 repetitions and for the exercises 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Most importantly, make sure you feel like you’re stretching well and getting more flexibility. The goal of the strength exercises is to go until fatigue, or your muscles are getting tired.
Know that most of the time plantar fasciitis foot pain will resolve. Even better, it will resolve without steroid injections, expensive orthotic inserts, prescription medications, or surgery. Sometimes it takes some time, and seeing a chiropractor for treatment may help speed up your recovery. Our chiropractors work on plantar fasciitis frequently and have great success rates. Services we offer like joint manipulation, dry needling, and Graston Technique IASTM are great conservative treatments we offer if you feel like it’s not going to get better fast enough on its own.
If you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis, schedule an appointment here and let us help you get pain-free and back to achieving your running goals. We’re always available to answer your questions as well, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
A Plantar Fasciitis Rehabilitation Tools I Recommend to Help You Recover:
Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.