3 Stretching Devices That Help Foot Pain From Plantar Fasciitis
Heel pain, particularly sharp and often excruciating, may be due to plantar fasciitis (PL), a condition caused by over-stretching the soft tissue that cushions the bones of the heel and the arch of the foot. Many runners get PL from pounding on the heels of their feet when they run, but most cases of PL are caused by inactivity, like standing on your feet all day without much movement. It is most common in middle-aged to older persons who are overweight and/or inactive.
Pub Med Health's Medical Encyclopedia indicates that you are most likely to get PL if you:
You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you...
- Have foot and arch problems (both flat feet and high arches)
- Run long distances, downhill or on uneven surfaces
- Are obese or gain weight suddenly
- Have a tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel)
- Wear shoes with poor arch support or soft soles
- Change your activities
These are the areas of the foot that pain generally strikes when you have plantar fasciitis, but these are not the only areas that can be painful due to PL. Some feel pain all the way up to their backs.
In remediation for PL stretching of the ankle is recommended. These stretching devices will also help ease the pain of shin splints, tight calves, and achilles tendonitis.
1. Foot Rocker by North American Healthcare
The Foot Rocker is intended to be used while standing, preferably facing a wall, using your hands for balance as you stretch your leg and foot. This ad for the Foot Rocker demonstrates how to use it:
The Foot Rocker is a very popular stretching device and its ratings and comments are very positive. You can buy the Foot Rocker in a set of two but, as it is advised to use only one Foot Rocker at a time, it might be overkill to purchase a pair.
Instructions for three stretching exercises are included with the Foot Rocker; these were developed by physical therapists. They should be done with shoes on. They only take about 30 seconds each to perform and they minimize pain in the foot, leg, and lower back. One size fits all: the dimensions are 11" x 4" x 5.75", but there is no toe stop, so if your foot is longer than the foot holder, it will still fit.
2. Medi-Dyne Prostretch Plus
The Medi-Dyne Prostretch Plus has a frame similar to the Foot Rocker, but it is longer (14.2" x 4.5" x 6.8") and it has the added feature of adjustable heel and toe pads. This feature enables you to adjust the degree of stretch, so you can work your way up to the maximum stretches by varying the heel cushion. The toe cushion provides resistance so your foot doesn't slide off when you move forward on the device. The Prostretch Plus is also very highly rated.
3. Medi-Dyne Prostretch Double
Some feet just like to do things together. If that's what your feet want, the Medi-Dyne Prostretch Double is the way to go, because the Double connects both feet, whereas if you purchase two separate single foot stretchers, it is more diificult to position them and to balance yourself between them. The Double is definitely a time-saver, and users have commented very positively about them. This device does not have the special heel and toe support of the Medi-Dyne Prostretch Plus, but it does fit shoes up to men's size 13.
Among the above three versions of a heel stretching device, you will find something that really helps your arch, heel, and calf pain, and they may even help ease lower back pain.
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