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If you have plantar fasciitis or heel pain orthotics may provide relief!
Orthotics can be effective at correcting biomechanical imbalances, however it is important not to assume you need them for treating heel pain. Any runner looking for a fast fix may be happy, as orthotics will provide fast relief, but this relief may be temporary. Orthotics should not be considered a long-term solution. If your plantar fasciitis is the result of overtraining, weak arches, tight calves, or worn-out shoes (all potential causes), you need to get to the root of those problems. Low-cost, long-term, at-home remedies (including icing, rest, strengthening, and stretching) are the best permanent solution. Just by adding more strengthening and stretching exercises to your daily routine will make your body more balanced and efficient.
Can Lift: Put a one-pound can in the toe of a tube sock. Sit down. Rest your heel on the edge of the chair. Wrap or tie the sock around your foot with the weight between your big and second toe. Keep your heel on the seat. Grip the sock with your toes and lift and lower 10 times.
Towel Drag: Take a one-pound can and put it on the far end of a towel on the floor. Sit at the other end of the towel and put your heel on its edge. Grip the towel in your toes and bunch it up, pulling the can toward you. Keep gripping and bunching until you have moved the can all the way across.
Calf Stretch: Sit with both legs straight out in front of you. Loop a rope around the foot of your left leg and grasp each end of the rope in your hands. From your heel, flex your foot back toward your ankle, aiming your toes toward your knee. Use the rope for a gentle assist at the end of this movement. For an advanced stretch, you may bend forward at your hips and lean your upper body closer to your knee. Hold each stretch for two seconds, release, then repeat. Do 10 reps on each leg.
Soleus Stretch: Sit with your right leg resting straight out in front of you and bend your left leg at the knee at a 90-degree angle. Place your left foot flat on the floor. Reach down and grasp the bottom of your left foot with both hands. Keeping your heel on the floor, pull your foot back toward your body as far as you can. Use your hands for a gentle assist at the end of the movement. If you are unable to reach your foot for this stretch, use a rope. Hold the stretch for two seconds, release, then repeat. Do 10 reps on each leg.