So we have previously learnt about the plantar fascia including it’s job, and what happens when we enter the danger zone. One of the many interesting and difficult concepts to grasp around the plantar fascia is that it’s load capacity can be increased with training.
Not too long ago a brilliant paper came out from Michael Rathleff titled: Hi-load strength training improved outcomes in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomised controlled trial with 12-month follow-up. The following protocol adapted from the paper is an easy and effective way to improve your load capacity of your plantar fascia.
The exercise protocol is below. Before starting I would stress that this is only general advice, and often many cases of plantar fasciopathy/fasciitis are misdiagnosed other causes of pain, and these exercises may exacerbate symptoms. Before commencing I would strongly recommend an assessment with an expert Pride Podiatrist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis AND personalised treatment plan. Now that warnings are aside, on to the exercises..
Set up as below with a step, chair for balance and towel.
Roll up the towel and place under the toes. Your toes should be bent upwards as far as they can go.
Rise up onto your toes slowly, you should count to 3 as you do this. You do not need to reach your tippiest of tip toes, just enough to get your heels off the ground 3-4 cm
Hold for count of 3 standing on your toes
Slowly lower your heel back down while counting to 3
Keep your weight over your big toe, not leaning on the outside of your feet as you rise up
You should not shake or wobble from side to side as you complete this exercise
Start with “X” repetitions. X is the number which you feel fatigue, discomfort or unable to balance your weight over your great toe without wobbling.
Attempt 3 sets total of your “X” repetitions.
Do this exercise every second day to allow recovery.
If you can complete this easily on both legs together, try by switching to single leg exercises.
If you can complete this program second daily, and always reaching your fatigue point (which should increase from your initial “X”) then you should be increasing the load capacity of your plantar fascia.