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How do I Choose the Best Plantar Fasciitis Stretches?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by irritation and swelling of the plantar fascia. This tissue runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Most people who suffer from plantar fasciitis are able to recover in just a few months with conservative treatment consisting of over-the-counter drugs and stretching exercises. The most effective plantar fasciitis stretches are those that stretch the foot and Achilles tendon.

The plantar fascia can become inflamed by repetitive stretching and tearing. Common causes of this are unusual foot mechanics such as flat feet or very high arches, exercises such as ballet or long distance running, professions that require long periods of standing, obesity, and continued use of improper shoes. Plantar fasciitis is more common in women than men and tends to affect those between the ages of 40 and 60.

Effective plantar fasciitis stretches focus on the bottom of the foot and the Achilles tendon. The most effective stretch for the bottom of the foot is the towel or band stretch. To complete this stretch, a person sits on the floor with the legs extended. A towel or band is looped around the injured foot and pulled toward the person and held for 15 to 30 seconds. The exercise is then repeated 10 to 15 times.

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Another common stretching exercise for the bottom of the foot is the frozen can roll. A frozen can is placed on the floor and the person with plantar fasciitis rolls the affected foot gently along the can from the toes to the heel and back. This exercise has the double benefit of stretching the plantar fascia and applying cold to the affected area.

Other effective plantar fasciitis stretches are those that stretch the Achilles tendon. The calf stretch is one of the most common Achilles tendon exercises. It requires a person to place his hands on a wall with the affected foot slightly behind the other foot. Pushing on the wall then stretches the calf of the injured foot. The same area can be stretched by standing on a stair with the injured foot and gently lowering the heel of the foot below the stair before raising it back up.

Most incidents of plantar fasciitis are treated simply through the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and plantar fasciitis stretches. More intense cases can require the use of orthotics, splints, or surgery to repair. It is recommended that those who experience the symptoms of plantar fasciitis check with a physician to see what sort of treatment is required.

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