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The plantar fascia is a strong band of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the big toe. The plantar fascia works with the small muscles of the feet to slow the lowering of the arch as the foot contacts the ground with walking and running and assists with elevation of the arch when pushing off. Increased strain on the plantar fascia overloads it’s insertion onto the heel which overtime results in breakdown, inflammation and pain. This is known as plantar fasciitis.
The great toe exercise is a clever treatment designed by a group of researchers from America which has been shown to produce significantly better outcomes than conventional treatment alone.
- Sit in a chair.
- Grab the big toe of your affected side and stretch it backwards towards your shin
- Whilst you hold the stretch, lightly massage the plantar fascia with your other hand (as shown)
- Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 30 times per day
Weakness of the small muscles of the feet and the stabilising muscles of the hips can lead to increased load being placed on the plantar fascia. Strengthening exercise for the stabilisers of the feet and hips, such as the supported reach, can also be helpful for recovery from plantar fasciitis.
Other tips for plantar fasciitis relief
- Runners with plantar fasciitis should avoid making initial contact with the fore or mid-foot as these strike pattern place a greater load on the plantar fascia.
- Nutrition can play a role in some plantar fasciitis cases. Deficiencies in nutrients that are important for connective tissue and muscle repair (such as protein, vitamins C and D and magnesium) or inflammatory diets (that are high in sugar and bad fats) can predispose to soft tissue injury such as plantar fasciitis. Learn more about nutrition for injury here
- Over the counter orthotics can also be helpful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Are you looking for plantar fasciitis relief?
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- Injury Free Running (2013). Tomas C. Michaud. Newton Biomechanics.
‘The Great Toe Exercise For Plantar Fasciitis Relief’ was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more infomation about Steffen click here.