New Plantar Fasciitis Stretching Protocol

For clients who suffer from plantar fasciitis, a non-weight-bearing stretching protocol that targets the plantar fascia works better than the standard method of stretching the Achilles tendon, says a new study in the July 2003 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation in the connective tissue between the heel and the ball of the foot. Approximately 10 percent of people with the condition have persistent and disabling symptoms.

According to the researchers, treatment for the condition is often inappropriate and nonspecific. This 8-week study evaluated response rates to two different stretching techniques on patients with chronic plantar fasciitis. The participants either performed traditional weight-bearing Achilles tendon stretches or non-weight-bearing plantar fascia stretches three times per day.

While both groups reported an overall reduction in pain, those who did plantar fasciitis stretches experienced more relief in terms of severity of pain; they also had less pain when stretching in the morning. This led the researchers to conclude that “a program of non-weight-bearing stretching exercises specific to the plantar fascia is superior to the standard program of weight-bearing Achilles tendon-stretching exercises for the treatment of symptoms of proximal plantar fasciitis. These findings about plantar faciitis stretches provide an alternative option to the present standard of care in the nonoperative treatment of patients with chronic, disabling plantar heel pain.”

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Diane Lofshult

IDEA Author/Presenter
Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight manag... more less
February 2004

© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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Article Comments

Mariu Garcia
On Oct 31, 2013
How frequent (how many times a day or days a week) are these stretches recommended? Or any other stretches as a matter of fact in developing a stretching program for tight hamstring and Achilles tendon.

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