3 Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis – This will Help your Running Training
I have spoken to so many athletes about proper stretches for plantar fasciitis. Most athletes have been told to focus their attention on the foot.
That’s like pulling your hair and then putting your focus on the pain in your head…while you’re still pulling your hair. It doesn’t work! You’re looking in the wrong place!
The vast majority of pain in your arch isn’t coming from your foot, it’s coming from your lower leg.
Stick with me, this is going to be so logical that you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard about stretches for the real source of plantar fasciitis before.
How Stretching Your Lower Leg Relieves Plantar Fasciitis
Let’s take a look at the muscles that move your foot. There are many tiny, intrinsic muscles but we’re not talking about them today…we’re talking about the major movers of your foot.
Gastrocnemius: A calf muscle that merges into the Achilles tendon.
Soleus: Under the gastrocnemius, also merges into Achilles tendon.
Tibialis Anterior: Primary muscle causing plantar fasciitis because it inserts into the arch. When it contracts the foot rolls toward the outside of the foot. Also causes shin splints.
Peroneals: A group of two muscles inserting into the outside of the foot and arch. When the peroneals contract the foot rolls toward the arch.
Before jumping into the stretches for plantar fasciitis, I recommend reading this page dedicated to foot pain for a clearer understanding of each muscle.
Each of the lower leg muscles all insert into the bones in your feet. Each muscle is responsible for moving your foot in one direction. However, when a muscle is tight, it pulls on the bone, exactly as I mentioned in the hair pulling analogy. Also, the opposite muscle, the peroneals in this case, cannot properly do its job.
The worst part is that the four muscles pull the bones and therefore the muscles of your arch in three different directions. This creates arch pain but the source is in your lower leg!
3 Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
Note: It is most beneficial to release the spasms (muscle knots) in the muscles before doing the stretches for plantar fasciitis relief.
This is the case for any muscle as it “unties the knot” that has shortened the muscle allowing you to stretch without injuring the muscle fibers.
The picture on the left shows a common runners stretch for the gastrocnemius muscle.
In order to get a proper stretch, it is important to keep your heel on the ground as you tilt your body forward.
Slowly bring your bottom back while bending the knee of the leg you are stretching.
Keep your heel firmly on the floor.
This stretch is deeper and often overlooked by runners, yet it is a key muscle for calf pain, Achilles tendonitis, heel pain, and plantar fasciitis.
You can stretch both the tibialis anterior muscle and the peroneal muscles by just a slight rotation of your ankle.
Curl your toes so the top of your toes are on the ground.
If your foot is squared so the top of your toes are flat on the ground, this stretches the tibialis anterior.
If you move slightly (as shown), this stretches the peroneal muscles.
You will feel the lengthening along your entire lower leg as you are doing an excellent stretch for plantar fasciitis and shinsplints. Our system is dedicated to keeping you pain free and enjoying the sports you love!
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