For all those who are a victim to plantar fasciitis, you may experience a sharp pain after prolonged inactivity and after long hours of sitting. It runs down your nerves and makes it almost impossible to bear and walk with that pain.
While there is no permanent solution to plantar fasciitis apart from surgery, one can certainly learn to live with it by taking measures like stretching, wearing supportive footwear, and exercise.
One such hack that is very effective as a stretch exercise to relieve pain due to plantar fasciitis is using a tennis ball. Unbelievable? We tell you how it helps and the various techniques of using it correctly for effective pain relief from plantar fasciitis.
Risk Factors of Developing Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is associated with a sharp pain in the heel and the arch section of the foot. This happens because of excessive stress on the legs and the risk factors of developing plantar fasciitis are plenty. Let us understand what makes you at risk for plantar fasciitis:
With age, our feet’, health starts deteriorating. The natural cushioning is lost and our skin starts sagging. Since the cushioning is lost, it is no longer able to support the feet due to which it causes pressure in the plantar fascia ligament. Plantar fasciitis is common amongst people between 40-60 years of age.
High Impact Activities
For those who have overstressed their legs too much by excessive running, walking, or exercise, all of which involves their feet, it causes stress to the feet and thereby can lead to plantar fasciitis. Most athletes and runners have high chances of developing plantar fasciitis if their feet lack support.
Not all people have the same kind of feet. Some of them have high arches, some have extremely flat feet, some have arthritis of the foot or fingers, etc. All of this can lead to plantar fasciitis.
If you have high arches or flat feet especially, your entire plantar fascia ligament is under pressure due to constant contact with the flat ground surface. This leads to pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia.
If you are obese, most of the weight of your body falls on your feet which causes immense pressure on the plantar fascia ligament. Due to this unbearable weight, your feet experience pain while walking.
Therefore, for those who have plantar fasciitis and are obese, exercise might seem impossible with the pain in the feet. However, you can indulge in swimming and cycling along with mild stretches which can help you manage your weight and not give a high impact on your delicate feet.
Ill fitted shoes
Ill fitted shoes are one of the biggest reasons for Plantar Fasciitis. Especially in women, you would usually find them complain of sore feet or heel pain due to wearing shoes with high heels and uncomfortable designs. As much as possible, try wearing comfortable shoes that support your heel and arch for plantar fasciitis. You can check an amazing range of supportive shoes for plantar fasciitis here.
Long hours of standing
Retail shop workers, construction site workers have to stand at work for long hours which makes them more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Their feet bear the pressure of the body for the entire day which causes painful swelling of the plantar fascia ligament by the end of the day.
For such people, it is advisable to wear supportive footwear along with plantar fasciitis sleeves to reduce the impact on the foot. You can read more about plantar fasciitis sleeves here.
How Does Tennis Ball Help With Plantar Fasciitis?
Tennis ball for healing plantar fasciitis may seem weird at first, but is a very cheap method for reducing pain and massaging your plantar fascia ligament. Massaging the ligament by applying moderate pressure increases the blood circulation around the inflamed area and reduces the pain upon impact. You can look for some massagers for plantar fasciitis here.
But for all those who are looking for cheaper alternatives, a tennis ball is very effective. How? The rolling of the tennis ball helps in loosening the stiff muscles around the ligament. Continuous rolling helps in easing the tightened muscles and makes our legs more comfortable and flexible while walking or stretching.
Different Tennis Ball Methods To Relieve Pain
Having mentioned the benefits of using a tennis ball, there are various methods that you can apply with a tennis ball to relieve pain that we have described in detail below. Read on to know how you can try them.
This technique requires a chair and a tennis ball. Settle yourself up on the chair, place your feet down, and the tennis ball below the arch of your feet. Now gently roll the ball from the heel to the toe region and try to keep the ball between the toes and the heel. Do this for 30 seconds 2-3 times a day.
It is the same as sitting roll, with the only difference that you are standing with some support instead of sitting in a chair. This allows you to apply more pressure. You can do various ankle movements by keeping the ball under the ball of the foot to increase flexibility. There are various variations to standing roll that you can try but is advisable only if the pain persists with the sitting massage.
Flex Stretch Against Wall
This is another level up to the two basic stretches mentioned above. For this, you would need a wall. Place the tennis ball against the wall and place your foot on the ball in such a way that the front portion is on the ball and the heel is touching the ground.
Now, maintaining this position, lean your body towards the wall, keeping your legs straight and the tennis ball maintained right under your feet. Lean forward, take 3 slow breaths and lean back to the same position.
Repeat this 8-10 times for effective pain relief for each foot. This increases the flexibility of the ankle and relieves pain in the calves as well.
This is a very easy stretch that you can try. It works on your tendons and also helps in reducing heel pain. Place the tennis below the ball of the foot and maintain the position with the help of your toes and arch. Do this in a standing position and slowly focus your body weight on the tennis ball by bending your knees for 5 seconds.
Repeat this for 5 times for each foot by bending and flexing your knees to release and apply pressure through your foot on the ball.
The bottom line
Using a tennis ball for plantar fasciitis is one of the best aids in treatment that can be combined with stretching and other helpful aids like supportive shoes and exercises. Plantar fasciitis may restrict you from performing regular activities but you can choose to reduce the pain and lead a normal life by effective stretches and exercises.
We have mentioned the benefits of using a tennis ball as well as various DIY techniques you can try with the tennis ball to relax your stiff muscles and stretch the plantar fascia.
Read our article above and tell us if the tennis ball hack worked for your feet through the comments section below.
Dr Kristine has a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from New York College of Podiatric Medicine, and currently assists our team of shoe experts by fact-checking and confirming the information presented to the readers. As a podiatrist, she has previously worked with numerous athletes, working professionals, and high to low activity individuals on the impacts of a lifestyle on their feet. She has submitted many research papers on the role of the correct footwear in foot health and how to take adequate care of your feet.
Previously, she worked in a foot clinic attached to a hospital, before she decided to have a private practice in 2012. She has more than 15 years of experience in foot health and has been incredibly gracious in providing her expertise to the Wearsty team! Her patients have ranged from ordinary people ailing with foot problems regarding obesity, old age, and foot stress—to athletes, runners, and workers who have demanding routines.