Frequently we are asked how one might stretch their ‘tight’ plantar fascia. First, let’s recap on why plantar fasciitis occurs in the first place. Referring back to the Plantar Fasciitis Info Sheet, you will recall that this kind of heel pain occurs when the fascial band is subjected to an excessive elongatory force. This traumatises the point where the band splits up into 10,000 individual fibres which puncture the bone to take their attachments. Almost always, it is foot pronation / rolling in / dropping arches that cause this to happen. As the arch lowers, the fascia pulls tight because the start and end points move away from each other. This ‘stretches’ out the tissue until the fibres start to tear. This tissue is subjected day to day to an excessive stretching force. If the (very tough) retinacular fibres that comprise this tissue can withstand this stretching load for all the steps you take each and every day under the full load of your body weight, it should be obvious that 10 minutes of extra ‘stretching’ per day won’t have any effect. If that tissue could stretch, foot pronation is exactly what would make it happen. So, to boil it all down, stretches are not of any benefit in plantar fasciitis. Indeed, they will often just make it more angry. The solution, as discussed in a previous FAQ, is to take the pressure off the band to let the painful tears heal.
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