This post will discuss the exercises that you should utilise to assist in the management of plantar fasciitis. However, before we get into the foam roller exercises, it is important that you understand both the anatomy and the underlying process of plantar fasciitis. This will make the reasons and theory behind each exercise very clear.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by the pulling or “micro-tearing” of the large soft tissue structure underneath the foot (which is the plantar fascia) at its insertion point at the calcaneus (which can be seen in the image below). This constant pulling or “micro-tearing” which is caused by the activities of daily living (walking, standing etc) accumulates and eventually results in an irritation and inflammation that causes heel pain.
Anatomy and Muscular Contributions to Plantar Fasciitis
There are a few established contributors to the development of plantar fasciitis. Whilst some of these cannot be targetted by a foam roller (for example poor foot posture), there are others that can. These include:
- Tightness in Gastrocsoleus (calf muscles)
- Tightness in the Plantar fascia
The connection between these does make logical sense. Tightness in the calf will impact the plantar fascia through “fascial connections” that will in due course lead to increased load on the plantar fascia.
Foam Roller Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
The most appropriate exercises are those that lengthen the myofascial structures of the:
- Calf (Gastrocsoleus)
- Plantar Fascia (arches of the feet)
The video below displays all of these components:
What Sizes Will Be Most Useful?
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, then the most effective size for you is:
- Short Thera-Roll