You probably don’t think about your heels very often— until you develop pain in them. Unfortunately, heel pain can land you on the couch, off your feet, and looking for relief.
One common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the band of tissue (plantar fascia) stretching from your heel to your toes becomes inflamed. This inflammation can cause stabbing, and quite severe pain, especially right after waking up in the morning.
You may think staying off your feet will eliminate your pain, but inactivity is not a good idea. It is essential to build strong and flexible muscles in the legs and lower body to increase stability, reduce stress and inflammation on the ligament, ease pain, and even prevent plantar fasciitis from coming back.
Exercise isn’t a four-letter word, but exercising with plantar fasciitis may cause you to utter a few! Let’s take a look at how to get in a good workout without aggravating plantar fasciitis.
What Cardio Exercises Can I Do With Plantar Fasciitis?
Before discussing the cardio exercises you can do, here are some to avoid.
Running with plantar fasciitis can aggravate the condition and be painful. Other cardiovascular activities like high-impact interval training and exercises or sports involving jumping may not be the best for your feet when suffering from heel pain.
Although athletes such as runners, basketball players, and others may be tempted to continue their regular sporting activities while suffering from plantar fasciitis, high-impact exercises should be avoided. So, you may be wondering, what cardio exercises can I do with plantar fasciitis to maintain my strength and endurance?
Low-impact activities provide the opportunity to keep up with your daily exercise routine, allowing you to strengthen your muscles without compromising your feet. In other words, low-impact exercises won’t worsen the condition.
So, here are a few activities for working out with plantar fasciitis. Pick one and jump in with both feet!
Stationary cycling is a low-impact exercise that, when done with care, can be a good alternative activity to high-impact workouts. When cycling with plantar fasciitis, don’t put your full body weight on your feet, and don’t let your heels make contact with the pedals. This activity will cause minimal strain or pain.
Swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. More importantly, it is very easy on your feet. One thing you may not consider— at least until you do it by mistake— is to avoid pushing off the wall when swimming laps.
Elliptical training is a common alternative to running and achieves the same level of intensive cardio without compromising the health of your feet. Keep your heels firmly planted on the pedal and you won’t have to worry about aggravating the plantar fascia.
Rowing is a great way to work out when you have plantar fasciitis. If you have the opportunity, healing your heel pain while out on a lake would be very enjoyable. However, rowing on a machine is just as effective when exercising with plantar fasciitis. The activity engages your entire body while putting almost no stress on your feet.
Yoga for plantar fasciitis is an excellent and recommended activity. It avoids those painful high-impact movements and emphasizes stretching and strengthening. Yoga is very customizable; if one position aggravates your heel pain, you can easily substitute a different one.
Foot Support for Plantar Fasciitis
Once you’ve figured out how to exercise with plantar fasciitis, you need to learn how to protect your feet even further. Proper foot support is important in general, but it is critical when exercising. The last thing you want is to irritate your heel pain or cause additional injuries. No matter which exercise you choose, make sure your shoes have proper arch and heel support.
Shoe inserts can also help. Look for firm insoles that have a reinforced arch, adequate cushioning, and shock absorption.
Stretching for Plantar Fasciitis Relief
You probably already have a stretching component to your exercise routine. And one of the best ways to get relief from plantar fasciitis is stretching and strengthening the area giving you trouble. Stretching should be done both before and after exercising, and you should pay particular attention to your calves, Achilles tendons, and the bottoms of your feet.
There are several common exercises to help you reduce problems with the plantar fascia. These include:
- Curling and relaxing your toes
- Making circles with your ankles and feet
- Rolling the bottom of your foot on a tennis ball
- Stretching your calves
Is It Time to Stop Dragging Your Feet and Get Back to Exercise?
Being sidelined with heel pain is not fun, and you probably are more than ready to get back to your favorite sport, exercise routines, or daily activities.
Get the support you need to heal your heel pain by contacting Foot & Ankle Group. We are here to help.
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