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Simple Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

Runners, Save Your Feet: 5 Simple Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

calves chronic tightness exercises and drills feet plantar fasciitis rotation stacking Jun 13, 2023

If you’ve explored the highlights section of my IG you know I have a category called “foot stuff.” I also have one called “glute stuff”.... which was almost called “butt stuff” and then I realized that it probably sent the wrong message. I try my best to keep things efficient, but sometimes it goes wrong!

Some abbreviations don’t need to be made when texting your babysitter. I laugh so hard when this FB memory pops up.


Today the "foot stuff" we will be addressing is Planter Fasciitis. More importantly simple exercises for plantar fasciitis to help runners elevate some pain!


Plantar Fasciitis

I just want to remind you that I am a personal trainer and running coach, not a medical practitioner. I cannot diagnose or treat specific injuries. However, I’ve had a lot of success with my clients finding relief from their PF symptoms by looking at their movement in this way. I don’t diagnose or treat an injury, I simply look at how the body is moving (and where it might not be moving well) and seek to improve that movement. Sometimes that's exactly what the doctor ordered 😉 So here we go.


Overall Body Position

We’ve talked about this before in the context of chronic calf tightness but it also plays a role in the feet. A lot of times with calf tightness that won’t go away, we go up the chain and look at how well you are orienting your body (stacking your ribs over your pelvis). It's possible (and very common) that you are “falling forward” somewhere higher up and your calves are working overtime to make sure you don’t fall on your face. Calf tightness puts extra tension on the plantar fascia AND your toes likely will do some gripping to aid in the whole not falling on your face bit.

 To address this we’d look at moving your center of gravity back. If this “falling forward” is happening at your pelvis, then you'll likely find the Long Lever Bridge helpful. 



Then we look at moving over and loading over the whole foot from there. I love a Front Foot Elevated Split Squat for that.


 Elevating that front foot will move your center of mass back behind your foot so that you have a better starting position to load it and the rest of the chain.

Movement Over the Foot

Sure, movement over the foot through stance looks like moving into dorsiflexion and the back into plantar flexion. It looks like moving from hip flexion to hip extension… But it also looks like, you guessed it…. ROTATION! Immediately at the ankle, the tibia has to internally rotate for the foot to move into pronation and externally rotate to move back into supination.


This internal rotation happens all the way up the chain → pronation, tibia, femur, hip → to load into midstance.

This external rotation happens all the way up the chain  → pronation, tibia, femur, hip → to propel you forward.


This 90-90 with Rotation can get you started with feeling that at the hip. Then try it in standing with this Staggered Stance Rotating Hinge.


Loading through the length in the glute and shifting back into that hip is not easy for a lot of people. Because of that, I created my Glute Accelerator Crash Course. It’s 7 days of simple exercise and education to help you truly find this rotation at the hip (instead of it all coming from your back). And it's free!


Movement In the Foot

Then we can bring this movement down into the foot. The foot needs to move through pronation and supination with each step of the stride.


Pronation = lengthening/widening of the foot and a lowering of the arch (loading)


Supination = shortening/narrowing of the foot and re-coining of the arch (propelling)


This is what happens overall, but it’s important to note that it's really a series of rotation and counter-rotation that happens in the different parts of the ankle and foot. Pronation and supination are verbs/actions/movements. Often, however, the foot can be “stuck in” one or the other. Either way, this is putting extra strain on the facia. Try this Half-Kneeling Foot Drill with Tibial Rotation to work on getting the foot moving through that full range of motion. Take note if you lose contact between the floor and your heel (as you move forward over the foot) or the ball of your foot under the big toe (as you move back over your heel).



Finally, the big toe!

The big needs to dorsiflex as the final movement in the foot at toe-off. Getting a good range of motion over that big toe is the final piece of the puzzle. As weird as it sounds, walking backward on the treadmill at an incline of 3-5% to help find the big toe is really helpful for loading this pattern - landing on the big toe, moving through the midfoot, and then off the heel. It’s all connected, we can’t just look at the feet, AND looking at feet is super important (for plantar fasciitis but also our movement in general). If you’ve done Glute Accelerator, you know the connection between being able to fully load that foot and feeling that glute burn is super important.


All of this combined can help protect against Plantar Fasciitis and improve your ability to load, stabilize, and propel through your stride efficientlyIf you are looking for more information about running check out my Youtube Channel and Instagram


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