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Can I Still Exercise With Plantar Fasciitis?


Can I still workout with plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

One of the most frustrating issues with plantar fasciitis is finding ways to stay active when you are dealing with stabbing foot and heel pain. If you are a runner or an avid walker, you know the frustration.


Continuing to exercise or staying with your running routine is often as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health. I know it is for me. There is also the concern of gaining weight or losing fitness gains while you are healing.


I specialize in foot and gait mechanics and I have treated hundreds of cases of plantar fasciitis. One of the most common questions I receive from my patients, especially the running community is, can I still workout with plantar fasciitis?


Plantar fasciitis is already so painful the last thing you want is to make it worse. Let's take a look at 5 plantar fasciitis-friendly, low-impact fitness options that are safe and will not cause a plantar fasciitis flare-up.




Dr. Angela Walk

The Plantar Fasciitis Doc

Specializing in Foot & Gait Mechanics






1. Cycling or Stationary Bike


Is biking good for plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

Is Biking Good For Plantar Fasciitis?


If cycling is done correctly, the activity places minimal strain on the heels, arches, and feet. Even if you are transitioning from a higher intensity work-out, start out slowly and work up to longer mileage.


While cycling carries a low risk of causing heel pain, proper cycling technique is important. Be sure you are pedaling properly and your saddle height is correct. If your saddle height is too low, it can actually create more stress on your feet.


The saddle should sit so that your legs are nearly straight at their fullest extension. Your leg should never extend to a totally straight position while pedaling.


Also, footwear is critically important even while cycling. Wear cycling shoes that do not pinch your toes and have a wide toe box to avoid further aggravating your plantar fasciitis.


Is Stationary Bike Good For Plantar Fasciitis?


If you love to cycle indoors or love spin classes, you can safely continue this exercise with plantar fasciitis. Use the tips above to avoid exacerbating your condition.


2. Swimming or Aqua Jogging


Can swimming help plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

Can Swimming Help Plantar Fasciitis?


Water sports can offer a great cardio option without stressing your foot. The low-impact nature of swimming makes the sport one of my most recommended activities for my patients who want to exercise without making their foot problem worse.


Swimming offers a gravity-free atmosphere that allows your entire musculo-skeletal system a great workout without the impact of other exercises.


Swimming also strengthens your calf and other leg muscles that may be weak and lead to plantar fasciitis.


What Is Aqua Jogging?


What is aqua jogging? Dr. Angela Walk

For many of my PF patients that are runners, aqua jogging has been a life saver. Aqua jogging mimics your running gait and is an excellent way to continue to train while healing from plantar fasciitis.


Aqua jogging is a form of cardiovascular exercise that mimics the motion of jogging while submerged in water. You can do aqua jogging by running laps in the pool or wearing a flotation device around your trunk and running in place.


A flotation device or running belt keeps your body suspended, allowing your arms and legs to move freely while keeping your head above the surface of the water.


Is Walking In a Pool Good Exercise?


Aqua jogging is not just for injuries. One key feature of aqua jogging is that it allows you to replicate the same running form you have on land.


By including water jogging in an overall training plan, you can increase cardio output, improve posture and form, and increase muscular strength, all while minimizing the wear and tear on your body and feet.


3. Strength Training


Can you lift weights with plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

Can You Lift Weights With Plantar Fasciitis?


Heavy weight-training can be hard on the feet, but there are many bodyweight exercises and weight machines that can safely be performed even with severe plantar fasciitis.


Stick to low-impact weight lifting exercises that will help you build strength without aggravating your feet.

Fortunately, there are many exercises that are foot-healthy. Consider these strength movements: bench press, push-ups, seated shoulder press, seated rows, sit-ups, leg curls and leg extensions.


4. Rowing


What cardio can I do with plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

What Cardio Can I Do With Plantar Fasciitis?


Rowing is a great option for cardio when you have plantar fasciitis. Most gyms (especially CrossFit gyms) have rowing machines. Also, actually rowing in a boat or kayaking is also a great exercise that does not stress the feet.


As a sports chiropractor, I’m a strong advocate of rowing as it strengthens the back and postural muscles while being a great cardio choice.


5. Yoga


Is yoga good for plantar fasciitis? Dr. Angela Walk

Is Yoga Good For Plantar Fasciitis?


Many of the stretches yoga offers can be of direct benefit to those with plantar fasciitis. Three of the most common contributing factors to developing plantar fasciitis involve limited calf and Achilles tendon flexibility, decreased ankle dorsiflexion (pulling your foot toward your shin), and lack of normal motion of the great toe (your big toe).


Yoga incorporates flexibility movements that can address each of these restricted components. This makes yoga a perfect option. Practiced with proper technique, yoga can also help strengthen your feet and promote healing.

Thunderbolt pose

Try these poses and stretches:


  • Downward Facing Dog can increase ankle dorsiflexion and strengthen the entire posterior chain

  • Chair pose helps lengthen the hamstrings, calf and Achilles tendon

  • High Lunge stretches the calf muscle and bottom of the foot

  • Thunderbolt pose with toes flexed increases the great toe movement

If you choose to practice yoga as part of your foot health regimen, work with an experienced teacher who is well versed in the anatomy of the feet and legs.


Can I Treat Plantar Fasciitis At Home?


If you have this debilitating condition, here are my top 3 recommendations to get you started on your home rehabilitation.


1. Download my free guide. This is the first step on your PF recovery journey. I show you the exact steps to resolve plantar fasciitis at home.


2. Follow my social media pages. I offer daily tips, exercises, and the latest insights on PF. You can also connect and learn from others with the same struggles. Join us: Facebook page & Instagram


3. Take a look at my approved footwear guide. Dr. Angela's Recommended Shoe List and make sure you are not sabotaging your recovery by wearing the wrong shoes.


Because there is so much misinformation out there about plantar fasciitis, I spend most of my time educating people on what NOT to do.


Most rehabilitation efforts fail because they are relying on cortisone shots, night splints, orthotics, ineffective stretching, thick, cushiony shoes, and rolling on a frozen water bottle.


These methods are either ineffective or just short-term band-aids, and do not provide long-term correction.


In my (6) step free guide, I offer solutions through addressing multiple factors. Improving footwear, identifying areas of weakness in the foot and ankle, and restoring proper foot function.


Summary


Trying to stay fit and active while dealing with plantar fasciitis can be a challenge. Avoiding activities that exacerbate your foot pain is key.


Choosing low-impact exercises such as swimming, aqua jogging, cycling, rowing, and yoga can help you prevent weight gain and avoid losing any fitness gains while you are healing.


Dealing with the pain of plantar fasciitis can be life changing--but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. By arming yourself with knowledge and taking charge of your healing, you can get back to the activities you love and feel like yourself again.


If you have additional questions about heel pain and plantar fasciitis, don’t hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help get you back on your feet--literally.


Best of Health,

Dr. Angela


I have also written extensively on the topic of Plantar Fasciitis. Take a look at these other related blog posts:







I have been involved in the health and wellness industry for over 25 years as a wellness physician, sports chiropractor, and foot health coach.


I have written extensively for health publications and I am keenly aware of trends and new developments.




I embrace an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, I hope to improve your health and quality of life.


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