In our final instillment of the plantar fasciitis series by @jfitboyd, we bring to you an exercise that not only introduces a new concept, but also incorporates all the principles covered in the last 4 episodes. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as we have! If you have suggestions for future series, please leave us a comment! And if you are a physical therapist, coach, chiro, or other health professional who shares a similar goal as us to educate others on ways to stay active and injury free and would like to do a series like @jfitboyd has done so wonderfully, please let us know!
This specific treatment strategy—known as “high-load strength training”—may stimulate an increase in collagen synthesis, encouraging normal tendon structure in addition to fascia to tolerate load. Additionally, this exercise facilitates an increase in dorsiflexion and intrinsic foot strength. The concept of Davis’s law states that soft tissue heals according to the imposed demands by which it is mechanically stressed.
In order to perform this exercise, fold a towel under the toes so there is greater toe extension and thus greater tension through the plantar fascia at the top of the motion. The towel underneath the heel specifically targets the windlass mechanism, discussed in part one of this series. At the bottom of the calf raise, the calves are stretched if you go down far enough, which helps correct the tight calf muscles often associated with the condition as discussed in part 2 of the series.
Every calf raise consists of a three second concentric phase (going up) and a three second eccentric phase (coming down) with a 2 second isometric phase (pause at the top of the exercise). Do not rush this exercise - far too often people neglect the eccentric portion of this exercise - and eccentric strength is vital for proper foot mechanics as discussed in part 3 of the series.