Plantar Fascia Specific Stretch

Indications: who should perform Plantar Fascia specific stretching?

Plantar fascia stretching creates a focused stretch on the plantar fascia and therefore it is ideal for individuals who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis.  Because it creates an isolated stretch on the plantar fascia it has been shown to be highly effective in the management of plantar fasciitis when performed regularly over a 6-8 week period.  As Plantar Fasciitis has a tendency to recur it is helpful to perform this stretch regularly after the Plantar Fasciitis has resolved.

How it’s done

  1. Cross your affected leg over your other leg.
  2. Using the hand on your affected side, take hold of your affected foot and pull your toes back towards shin (Figure 1). This creates tension/stretch in the arch of the foot/plantar fascia.
  3. Check for the appropriate stretch position by gently rubbing the thumb of your unaffected side left to right over the arch of the affected foot (Figure 2). The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.
  5. Perform at least 3 sets of stretches per day. You cannot perform the stretch too often.

The most important times to stretch are before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a period of prolonged sitting. Most patients perform the stretch 4-5 times during the day for the first month, and then on semi-regular basis (3-4 times per week).  Decreased pain, with improvement of about 25-50% is expected at 6 weeks, with resolution of symptoms over 3-6 months.

Figure 1 (Top) and Figure 2 (Bottom)

Plantar Fascia
Plantar Fascia

Information courtesy of Ben DiGiovanni, MD

Edited July 16th, 2014