Runners, walkers, bikers, and hikers rely heavily on their feet. Feet allow us to do the things we love, but all that stepping, jumping, and pounding can cause damage to the plantar fascia. It's a thick band of tissue that covers and protects the bones on the bottom of your feet. When put under too much stress, these tissues can tear, causing a painful condition called plantar fasciitis. The tears cause inflammation and scar tissue, which can make your feet even less flexible. To prevent this problem in the first place, it's a good idea to stretch your plantar fascia regularly, so you can keep doing the activities you love.
Stretching your feet is one of the best preventative activities you can do. To see a foot stretch I like to do when barefoot before and after a run, just keep reading.
- Sit down on a chair or bench. Bend your right leg and place your right ankle on your left knee.
- Hold onto your right toes with your right hand and gently press your right toes to the left, so your foot is pointing. Stay here for a few seconds. Then use your hand to pull your right toes to the right, flexing your foot.
- Repeat this stretch 10 times and then do it with the other foot. Complete this stretch at least three times a day to experience the full benefits. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, research shows that 77 percent of sufferers can return to full activity within three to six months of doing this stretch regularly.