The Fasciitis Fighter for heel pain relief
Do you have heel pain? Have you tried everything that has been suggested but still have discomfort?
As Podiatrists, we find the missing piece in plantar fascia management is often specific strengthening. Some modalities will help reduce the discomfort in the short term but don’t address long term recovery. This is one of the reasons why patients will have this condition on/off for months to years.
Our goal is to keep you active not only now but for the long term. To do this we must address the causative factors, one of which is reduced foot and calf strength.
Specific high load strength training for the Plantar Fascia is basically a single leg heel raise. You may have heard of doing this on a rolled up towel, which is a great starting point. A more specific and measured approach is using a device called the “Fasciitis Fighter”.
The main difference of using this device compared to being on a flat surface, is it raises the toes which stretches the plantar fascia. This specific, evidence based approach will increase strength in the intrinsic muscles of the feet and calf and load the plantar fascia so it can tolerate a greater amount of load day to day.
How it works:
- Set yourself up where you have a stable base or wall to place your fingers on for balance
- With one foot, place your toes on the high part of the device and have the ball of your foot resting on the flatter cushioned surface. It’s okay if not all your toes are raised but ensure your big toe is in the correct position
- The ideal position is to have the opposite leg up off the ground and do a single leg heel raise. If this is too difficult at the beginning you can place your other foot on the ground and do a double leg raise.
- Start with your heel on the ground and slowly rise up for 3secs, hold 2secs and slowly lower down 3secs, allowing your heel to kiss the ground and rise up again
The plantar fasciitis fighter is designed to use over a 12 week period and the heel raises to be performed every second day. Below is a general guide, weight can be added to increase the difficulty and/or lowering the heel off a step. We suggest seeing a Podiatrist before you start this to ensure you have the appropriate range of movement in the toes.
Week 1 – 2:
3 sets of 12 repetitions
Week 3 – 6:
4 sets of 10 repetitions
5 sets of 8 repetitions
- Increase compliance completing the exercises as you have a specific device to do them on.
- More consistent and measured approach – with a towel this can vary day to day and it also compresses quickly
- You can feel when you are improving as you will not get as much “pull” through the arch and can do increasingly do more reps
- This strengthening regime is to be used in conjunction with a recommended treatment plan, it is not a magic bullet. Other management that is often included for plantar fasciitis – footwear, lacrosse ball mobility, shockwave, soft tissue release/massage, load management and inserts/orthotics.
- This device will not be appropriate for everyone and there are always variations we can use. Eg) people with Arthritis in the big toe joint, neuroma/bursitis at the forefoot and an acute tear in the plantar fascia.
If you are interested in this device we sell them at our clinics and will always do an assessment before we recommend them (usually involves a graded build up).
Plantar Fasciitis is our specialty and we would love to help anyone who is experiencing foot pain!
Rathleff, M. S., Mølgaard, C. M., Fredberg, U., Kaalund, S., Andersen, K. B., Jensen, T. T., Aaskov, S. & Olesen, J. L. (2015). High load strength training improves outcome in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomized controlled trial with 12-month follow-up. Scandinavian Journal of Sports Medicine. 25 (3) 292-300.