Stretching for Plantar Fasciitis While Sitting in an Office all Day

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by catfish, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    I've had several bouts of plantar fasciitis over the last few years and I'm having one right now. I've read a lot about PF, and I am aware that tight calves & hamstrings are part of the problem. I try to stretch as much as I can, but how do you find the time to warm up before stretching? I have a desk job and sit in an office all day. Is it OK to stretch in my cubicle without warming up? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
     
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  2. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Search the internet. I would say that the advice is overwhelmingly to always warm up before stretching.

    Climbing stairs for a few minutes is a workout/warmup for the calves.

    If injured, exercises and stretches intended to prevent injury for healthy tendons are questionable without a Dr's approval. They might be making the PF worse. ??

    3 months of rest (and it should have been 4 since I started back with a few twinges) worked to get rid of mine.

    There are many TW injury threads with related information found under Achilles, Achilles Tendinitis, Plantar Fasciitis, calf strain, tennis leg. If the calves are tight all these muscles and tendons can be affected.

    PS - I guess the 'plantar fascia' is mostly a tendon-ligament structure but that point has never been clear to me. An assembly of muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia...etc. ??
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
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  3. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    There's conflicting information out there. I always thought that you shouldn't stretch unless you are warm. But I'm seeing a lot of information about stretching your calves and feet several times a day and before you get out of bed in the morning. It seems like in order to stretch your calves and feet several times a day you will need to do some stretching when you are not warmed up.
     
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  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    30 Second Static Stretches & 1 Second Dynamic Stretches

    CORRECTION - See Dynamic Stretching as distinguished from Ballistic Stretching- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_stretching I should have used the term "Dynamic Stretching" instead of "Ballistic Stretching".

    There is a distinction between a stretching routine intended to lengthen muscles and a quick dynamic stretch. To lengthen muscles in a lasting way - hold for 30 seconds, etc. - for that purpose, I almost always see warm up before stretching.

    Quick & light dynamic stretches, that might be held for less than a second, are often recommended by many before tennis as part of the warm up. I'm not sure how often this type of stretch is recommended before tennis. Of course, before a match you should warm up before the tennis anyway, but I don't know about the routine for the quick stretches as part of tennis warm up. Or, if you were only doing the quick stretches, I don't know about the warm up.

    I believe that for the longer static stretches you need to warm up. Static stretches before tennis or other exercise are now known to weaken the muscles and are no longer recommended. For short dynamic stretches, I'd like to find out more.

    Do you have some information/webpages on stretching several times a day, the type of stretch, etc. ?

    Need to research both types of stretches thoroughly before stretching.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
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  5. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Couple things come to my mind after reading your post, OP.

    If you're sitting in a cubicle, you can roll a tennis ball or golf ball gently along your bottom of your foot to try and break up any soft tissue restrictions that may have formed that also can be contributing to your PF.

    Since you mentioned that this isn't the first bout of PF and you being in a desk job, I'm more concerned about how all that sitting has affected your posture and that may be a contributing factor in your PF.

    For example, and this may not be your case, and I'm oversimplifying here but...
    Sitting all day --> shortened hip flexors (I'll say muscles bc it's easier to understand and picture, but I mean the soft tissue/fascia) --> forward rotation of pelvis--> change of center of gravity--> compensation of posterior muscles (glutes/hamstrings/gastroc) leading to pain/tightness--> chronic issues.

    So first bout of PF, treat it, it resolves....but if it keeps reoccuring, you have to look elsewhere for possible contributing factors on why it keeps coming back. Most things people miss are postural issues and soft tissue restrictions. Something to consider.
     
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  6. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    If you're just doing a stretch at your desk, there's no need to "warm up" per say provided:

    Don't force anything....go into and out of the stretch slowly.

    Once you feel the GENTLE stretch, stop and hold. Breathe, soften and relax into the stretch. You're better off with a lower intensity but longer duration.

    I tell my patients to hold their stretches for 3-5 minutes, nowadays more like 5 minutes if they can tolerate it. 30 seconds isn't going to reach down into the collagenous barrier which is really where you need to be. Esp for the calves, which tend to be very, very tight on most people.

    I mean, if you're just going to do 30 seconds 4-5 times, why not just do 1 time of 3-5 minutes?

    Where are you going anyways? You're at your desk, working I presume....

    Now, if you were at home and your plan was to do a 30 min stretching routine, then yes, I'd probably suggest you do a little dynamic warm up first.

    Don't force anything, go slow...you'll be fine.
     
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  7. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    I guess the key is gentle stretching in the office, and then more vigorous stretching when I really am warmed up and after tennis.
     
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  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    A whole body warm up that gets the heart beating and blood circulating to the entire body takes 5 minutes. That's not necessary.

    For just calves, do some toe raises to get the calve muscles warmed up and some blood flowing. Much quicker.

    A Static Stretch - I have placed a book under the ball of my foot to give a gentle stretch to my Soleus muscle. I would cross my other leg for a little extra weight on the calf being stretched. I would do this for a few minutes or until it became uncomfortable. Good while watching TV.

    It probably also helps to place the feet flat on the floor (calves not shortened) while sitting as is often recommended for a better sitting posture.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
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  9. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the info. I taped my feet today for the first time, and that helped. Hopefully my feet will feel OK tomorrow morning. Morning is always the worst. I've also started using a Foot Rubz massage ball on my feet.
     
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  10. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    Not a proponent of anything vigorous or forceful. If you're already injured, you can easily further irritate or injure any areas. If you're healthy, you can easily injure yourself. Your body has a stretch reflex, which simplistically means if you try to stretch a muscle too much too fast, it'll contract to protect itself. That contraction can be pretty painful....and if you try to override that....

    Slow and steady wins the stretching race....
     
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  11. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Yes that's correct, slow and gentle stretching is the key here. People tend to stretch too much and too hard which is very bad.

    I had PF last year and rested for 2 months, nothing changed and i was sick of it so i said the hell with it and started to run and play tennis again after i tried nearly everything, then i've changed my footwear, walked barefoot and did some triggerpoint exercises etc... couple weeks later i felt relief already, now it's gone but feel it lightly in the other foot, very strange.
    Only feel it when wake up or sat down for a long time...
    No way i will stop playing tennis as before it didnt bother me. PF is in most cases a problem with triggerpoints that are up in your calves, i have tight calves so that's the main reason.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
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  12. Mike Hodge

    Mike Hodge Rookie

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    stretching for plantar fasciitis while sitting

    Catfish: The biggest thing I'd recommend is an overall stretching program to lengthen your muscles -- mainly the hip flexors, the hamstrings and calves.

    I'd stretch in the morning before work, when you get home late in the afternoon and then when you go to bed.

    In my case, overall flexibility issues led to PF. The more flexible I got, the more I was able to play tennis at a higher level without much pain.
     
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  13. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the replies. I read all of them and did a lot of online research.

    I have gotten some relief from the PF from the following:

    1) Yoga. I haven't had time for classes this summer so I'm doing 20-30 minutes at home most days.

    2) Wearing Dansko clogs most of the time when I'm not on the tennis court. They give your feet great support.

    3) Taping my arches when I play tennis.

    4) Using various foot massagers 2-3 times per day. Footrubz and Trigger Point footballer seem to be the best.

    5) Stretching my feet several times daily.

    I think the key here is not to neglect your feet. Doing the above for about a week and a half has gotten rid of all symptoms in my right foot and most of the symptoms in my left. I have to remember to keep this up to avoid future flare ups.
     
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  14. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    here's a stretch we recommend to clients with plantar fascia tightness. if it's really uncomfortable at first, that's a sign you need to do it. Make it slow and gentle, start with 20 circles one way, 20 the other, and 20 point and flexes. Keep the foot as relaxed as possible, just using the hand and arm to move it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBYJz6F_rC8

    I'm also a big fan of RogueFLIP's suggestion above to use a firm ball of some kind to roll the foot over. I'll have clients do that with a golf ball going REALLY slowly, like taking a minute to go from just above the heel to just below the ball of the foot. When you find a really tight or tender spot, linger there for a few minutes and relax into it until it feels like it's melted away a bit.

    In EVERY case I've seen of PF, gait mechanics have become compromised to the point that foot strike during walking or running is dysfunctional. The problem is almost always NOT in the foot, the foot is just paying the price for dysfunction elsewhere in the body.
     
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  15. drak

    drak Professional

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    2 suggestions:

    1. use a tennis ball under the foot and apply some (start lightly) pressue and gently massage, increasing pressure gradually over time.

    2. Stand on a foam roller and slowly roll from heel to front of foot. Make sure you have something to hold onto for balance as initially you may fall off.
     
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