Stretching plays an important part in rehabilitation from plantar fasciitis. By doing routine, daily stretching and strengthening exercises on the plantar fascia, heel and calf muscles, typically decreases the amount of tensionin the plantar fascia and helps with the recovery process. It is very common to see plantar fasciitis patients with decreased range of ankle movement and very tight Achilles tendons. Stretching these areas reduces the chance of re-injury.
Does Stretching Work?
In a recent study, over 80% of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis reported that stretching helped their recovery and close to 30% believed that their stretching programs were the most helpful treatment they tried.
Regular gentle stretching is the key. Patients should be sure to start their stretching very slowly and cautiously at first since overly aggressive stretching during the initial stages of treatment and recovery can easily re-injure the plantar fascia and do more harm than good. Less is sometimes more with stretching and best results are produced by a ‘little and often’ approach. Patients should do some light stretching at least two times a day (preferably more) rather than launching into one long, aggressive stretching session on an infrequent basis.
Be Careful! Follow a Structured, Progressive Program
Because of the risk of re-injury resulting from over enthusiastic stretching, it is recommended always to closely follow a structured treatment program that has been designed to increase effort levels slowly at the same pace as the plantar fascia heals itself.