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Pain on the bottom of your feet is often due to tightness in your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Extending from your heel to just behind your toes, your plantar fascia is a sheath of connective tissue that covers the muscles on the bottom of your foot and allows you to flex your foot and curl your toes. Your Achilles tendon is actually an extension of your calf muscles, which extend down and under your heel. Your calf muscles allow you to point your toes, and are also important for pushing off while walking, running and jumping.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
Sit on a chair or stool and cross your right foot over your left thigh.
Grasp the toes of your right foot and pull them upward toward your shin. With your other hand, massage the bottom of your foot.
Hold this stretched position for at least 10 seconds. Release and repeat 20 times. Repeat this stretch on your other foot. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends performing this stretch when your first get up in the morning, before you stand up or walk.
Seated Heel Cord Stretch
Sit on the floor and extend your legs straight out in front of you. Do not lock your knees.
Wrap a towel around one foot and pull your foot toward you.
Push your foot against the towel for five seconds while you hold the tension on the towel.
Relax your foot and repeat the stretch four times.
Perform the stretch on your other foot.
Standing Calf Stretch
Stand at arms-length away from a wall, with one leg straight and the other leg bent at the knee, with your foot placed closer to the wall than the foot of your straight leg.
Lean into the wall, placing both hands against the wall.
Lean into the lunge while keeping your right heel on the floor and your right knee straight. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg in your calf muscle. Relax, and repeat the stretch 20 times.
Reverse your position and stretch your calf and Achilles tendon of your other leg.
Stand on the second step of a flight of stairs or on a stool.
Lower your heels down below the level of the step while keeping the balls of your feet on the step.
Keep your knees straight, but not locked and hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
Repeat the exercise two to three times.
You should not experience any pain while you are stretching. It may feel a little uncomfortable, but not painful. Pain is an indication of more than just tight muscles and should be evaluated by a physician.
According to Elisabeth Aaslid, author of Healing Muscle Pain, a muscle is stretched when it moves in the opposite direction. For example, if the calf muscles point your toes then you would do the opposite, or pull your toes up, to stretch them. Stretching should be done slowly and gently to avoid pain and soreness.