Foot Trainer Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

There are a wide variety of devices designed to allow anyone the ability to perform unique foot and leg exercises. Foot training exercises are safe and effective because they are performed in a non-weight bearing position, allow you to target typically neglected muscles, allow you to start slowly and gradually build up at your own pace and can be performed in your bed to stop the repetitive damaged caused by loading cold, tight flexor muscles.

Reciprocal Muscle Innervation: The key to relaxing tight muscles and ending pain!

Foot training exercises are based on the basic principal of movement known as Reciprocal Muscle Innervation.

Reciprocal Muscle Innervation is the contraction of one muscle or group of muscles that excite inhibitory interneurons in the spinal cord which causes the automatic relaxation of muscles that have the opposite function (opposing muscle).

Any cold, hot or noxious stimulus striking the bottom of the foot contracts the flexor muscles, relaxes the opposing extensor muscles and extends the opposite limb. The purpose of these movements is to remove one limb from harm while shifting weight to the other leg. That is the first and immediate response, but a slower and longer lasting reflex response is also possible.

Chronic noxious stimulation of any of the deep tissues of the foot/leg can cause a prolonged discharge of impulses conducted by fibers to and from the spinal cord. The result is prolonged flexion of the injured area and a change in posture. These effects last far longer than the original discharge often continuing not for minutes but for weeks or months.

An example of 2 opposing foot muscles are the flexor digitorum brevis which flex the 2nd-5th toes down and the extensor digitorum brevis which extend the 2nd-5th toes up.

Please do not be intimidated by the medical terms, the exercises are very easy to perform.

How does this help end plantar fasciitis?

There are 4 flexor muscle/tendons that attach to your heel bone and any or all may be short/tight. The 4 opposing extensor muscles are typically weak. Therefore, if you strengthen the weak extensor muscles and then concentrically contract them, you will automatically relax your tight flexor muscles which will reduce the tension (pain) on your heel bone.

Examples of 2 Foot Training Plantar Fasciitis Exercises:

1.  How to strengthen the muscles that extend your toes up (and automatically relax the muscles that flex your toes down):
  • Place the rubber pads over the base of your toes.
  • Move the Foot Trainer forward until you feel the rubber pads touch the front of your toes/feet.
  • Slowly move your toes toward your body and while you resist with the Foot Trainer.
  • 2. How to strengthen the muscles that extend the tips of your toes up (and automatically relax the muscles that flex the tips of your toes down):
  • Place the rubber pads to the tips of your toes.
  • Move the Foot Trainer forward until you feel the rubber pads touch the front of your toes.
  • Slowly move the tips of your toes toward your body while you resist with the Foot Trainer.
  • Incorrect Exercises

    If you perform ineffective exercises you may face a progression of expensive, painful and invasive treatments and a long recovery!

    Many of the traditional foot and leg exercises are incorrect, incomplete, inappropriate and therefore ineffective.

    The following are some of the traditional rehabilitation exercises that we do not recommend and the reasons why we believe they are incorrect.

    The Toe Towel Curl Exercise

    If you are symptomatic, the traditional toe towel curl exercise is incorrect because it promotes repetitively shortening and tightening flexor muscles that are already short and tight. This exercise will place excessive traction on the inflamed tendons that attach to your heel bones. This exercise is the opposite of what you should be doing!

    The Towel or Rope Stretch

    In a sitting position you loop a towel or rope around your toes and pull on the towel. This is incorrect because again, it promotes shortening and tightening your short/tight toe flexor muscles. This exercise is the opposite of what you should be doing!

    All Weight Bearing Plantar Fasciitis Exercises are Incorrect!

    The Standing Wall Calf Stretch

    The standing wall calf stretch is physiologically incorrect because your posterior calf muscles will be automatically contracted prior to and during the stretch which will place excessive traction on your achilles tendon. It is not possible to relax weight bearing muscles when you are in a weight bearing position. Muscles (especially injured muscles) should always be relaxed prior to performing any exercise/stretch.

    The Heel Drop Exercise

    A potentially dangerous exercise is dropping your heels off a step because you are weight bearing while performing it and you can drop down below your normal range of motion.

    This can promote chronic tearing and damage to the knee, gastronemius, flexor digitorum brevis and the flexor halcius brevis muscles and inflammation to the achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. Even in healthy people this can cause problems. Anyone who has a foot or leg injury and performs this exercise will likely make their problem worse!

    Toe Raises

    Where you stand in a weight bearing position and then rock back on your heels so that your toes come off the ground.

    Foot Dorsiflexion

    Where you stand and place one foot against a wall and then move your foot up so your toes are off the ground.

    Heel Raises

    Where you stand on both feet behind a chair and then rise up on your toes so that your heels come off the ground.

    Stretching Terminology Errors

    It is incorrect terminology if you perform an exercise designed to stretch your achilles tendon or plantar fascia. Nobody can safely stretch a tendon or a ligament. Tendons and ligaments are composed of very inelastic collagen fibers that cannot elongate more than 3% without rupturing.

    You do not want to stretch a tendon you want to reduce the tension being forced on it. The only way only natural way to reduce the tension on a tendon is to improve the strength and flexibility of its related and opposing muscles.

    Rehabilitation Routine

    Because of the nature of plantar fasciitis you must be active in your rehabilitation. Performing this routine for 3-4 weeks has shown excellent results with our customers.

    Eliminate Morning Pain

    To eliminate morning pain, perform Foot Trainer Exercises in your bed before taking your first step out of bed in the morning. This is the most important thing you can do to stop the repetitive and cumulative damage cycle. If you do not do this you are re-injuring yourself daily.

    Self massage your foot and leg muscles

    Massage increases circulation. Self-massage allows you the ability to find tender areas and to apply controlled pressure.

    Ice your tender areas

    Ice the tender areas you found while massaging for 5-10 minutes. Do not apply ice directly on your skin. Use a damp cloth or a gel pack.

    Rest

    Rest for 5-10 minutes after icing.

    Repeat

    Repeat this routine before bed.