ASK THE PHYSIO Kate Senini opened her own clinic, Pure Physio with colleague Andrew Sargent in the Melbourne CBD, in 2010. A keen runner, Kate’s passion is running specific injuries. She enthusiastically spreads her knowledge through lectures, seminars and freelance writing. Contact Kate on 03 9090 7325 or follow Pure Physio on Facebook.
Q: I have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. What exercises can I do to help?
Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the Plantar Fascia which is the tissue that forms the arch of the foot. It is usually related poor muscle stability and excessive calf tightness in runners. This causes overload of the inner aspect of the shin and foot.
We need two avenues of action when it comes to exercises. Firstly to address the inflammation and tightness within the plantar fascia and calf. Specific exercises are calf stretching with both straight and bent knee for 30 seconds each, and rolling a golf ball or frozen lemon under the arch for 2-3 minutes to perform release of the tissues of the arch.
The other equally important are exercises to correct the muscle imbalance at the root cause of the problem. These involve core stability and gluteal strengthening exercises to regain correct alignment of the lower leg and offload the arch. Examples of exercises would be bridging (double and single leg), progressing to single leg squats and heel raises, then further progressing to dynamic exercises such as step ups, step downs, or reverse lunges. Most importantly with all exercises is that the correct core and gluteal muscles are being used!