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Peter Dell'Orto 10-30-2007 09:42 PM

Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
I hurt my left foot a few days ago - turns out it is plantar fasciitis. Or at least it's a swollen and injured plantar fascia. My orthopedist (who coincidently is also one of my kendo teachers, small world) recommended I stretch before exercise, and massage afterwards.

He showed me a basic stretch and a basic massage. The stretch was basically the towel stretch ( - wfs), but using one hand to pull on the ball of the foot and the other to stabilize the heel. The massage was simply thumb pressure on the injured area.

Otherwise, he prescribed a painkiller patch in the meantime. He's not recommending I stop training or explosive movements (honestly, he scolded me for not coming to the kendo class he runs on weekdays instead of the one his brother runs on weekends) just stretch before and massage after. Is that one stretch sufficient? Are there others folks here can recommend? I already searched the forum archives but all I came up with was recommendations for arch supports, a night brace, and that one stretch.


Steve York 10-30-2007 10:36 PM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
How about using a golf ball to massage the plantar fascia whilst you watch tv prior to going to bed. Or fill a plastic bottle with water and throw it in the freezer and then use as a frozen rolling pin that you roll your foot over.

Before getting out of bed in the morning, I'd do the stretches as the fascia has been shortened due to the plantar flexed position overnight.

Peter Dell'Orto 10-31-2007 04:58 AM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
Thanks Steve. I gave that ball routine a go with a ball for soft tennis at my gym*, that felt pretty good. I'll see if I can't borrow a discard from one of my schools and use that. Just walking around on the wrestling mats felt pretty good too.

One thing I forgot to ask my doc - how often should I stretch and massage? Anyone with experience in that matter? I'm planning three times a day, because it feels a bit better when I do it...when I wake up, before I work out, before bed.

I feel like I've got to get a good stretching routine I can use forever, and when the swelling goes down I want to strengthen my plantar fascia if that's possible. Stupid feet! All I ever ask them to do is absorb the shock of my bodyweight falling on them from heights onto concrete. And carry me around all day. And...and...and... How dare they hurt! :D

* We throw them at each other for parrying practice, so we have bunches.

Allen Yeh 10-31-2007 06:29 AM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
From Mike Robertson's article notw/f safe.

Get on the Ball for Plantar Fascitis

Q: My dad is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. His doctor's recommendations were basically to ice it and wear supportive shoes. Is there anything else he can do?

A: Here's my quick-and-dirty fix for the plantar fasciitis people:

- Stretch the calves; knees straight (gastrocnemius) and knees bent (soleus). The best stretch for this is the one where you lie on your back with your leg straight and a towel over your toes. Pull the leg back into a hamstring stretch, then really pull on the towel to bring the toes toward your shins. This will hurt like hell, I guarantee.

- Foam roll the calves, peroneals, and plantar fascia. Rolling a tennis ball on the plantar region (bottom of the foot) is very effective as well.

Secret weapon in the fight to alleviate plantar fasciitis

- Work on strengthening your anterior tibialis (dorsiflexor) muscle. See Designer Athletes for three cruel and unusual (and therefore great) exercises.

- As the doctor recommends, ice the plantar fascia to reduce inflammation. I'd also suggest cranking up your intake of a high-quality fish oil supplement.

Shanna Duvall 10-31-2007 07:40 AM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
The advice Allen gave above should be helpful particularly the stretching of the gastroc/soleus which is often overlooked. Also, the stretching of the smaller muscles of the lower leg is key to prevent multiple injuries of the lower leg and foot including plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and ankle sprains. Here is a link (WFS) to a quick 2 page read with figures explaining 6 simple foot drills to perform daily. These drills are key for injury prevention.

Bobby Nauss 10-31-2007 06:27 PM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
The biggest thing that helped me was a splint that I wore while I slept. It basically kept my ankle bent so that if I was laying on my back, my toes were pointed straight up. Took a couple days to get used to, but after that I didn't even notice it.

The golf ball trick worked a little, the stretches didn't seem to help all that much. But the splint worked wonders. I don't think getting shot in the face with a bazooka hurts as much as that fasciitis....

Bill Pontius 11-01-2007 08:21 AM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
I've found the stretches outlined in the article linked below helpful:


Steven Andrews 11-01-2007 08:47 AM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
I used to have it, years ago. Orthropedics helped somewhat and ART also helped but it really went away when I started to do a lot of barefoot walking.

Peter Dell'Orto 11-01-2007 04:02 PM

Re: Plantar Fasciitis stretches/massages
I wish I could say barefoot walking would do it for me, but I'm barefoot most of the time lately - and all the time I'm doing my sports or training. When I wore shoes for everything I didn't have a bad plantar fascia.

I've been using the painkiller patch (helps a lot, the swelling has dropped rapidly), the strentch, and started doing those foot drills. When I train MMA I wear an adjustable ankle brace, which I tighten around the foot instead of the ankle. That also helps keep the patch from rubbing off during sparring. It's helping, the discomfort in walking and swelling is almost gone, and I think I've got a good routine going now to fix it.

Thanks guys!

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