The first time I saw a stability ball was in 1993 when I was volunteering at a physical therapy clinic in Redondo Beach, California. The physical therapist who I was assisting encouraged me to try some balancing exercises on the ball. I was skeptical at first since I’d never seen one at a gym before. So I sat down and it immediately tested my balance. And all I was doing was sitting. She then had me do a few exercises that worked my core (back and abdominal muscles) unlike anything I had done before in the weight room. That was almost 19 years ago. Since then I have incorporated the ball into my workouts and into the workouts of my clients. It’s also a great substitute for a bench and even your chair at work. So get on the ball and pick one up.
Plantar Fasciitis is swelling and irritation of the thick tissue (plantar fascia) on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that starts at your heel and goes along the bottom of your foot. It works like a rubber band between the heel and the ball of your foot to form the arch of your foot. A pad of fat in your heel covers the plantar fascia to help absorb the shock of walking. Damage to the plantar fascia can be painful and make walking more difficult. Some people describe the pain like a nail was being driven into their heel. The pain is strongest first thing in the morning (just getting out of bed), and walking on tile or hard wood floors is painful.
What are some risk factors?
Repetitive loading on the feet
Tight Achilles tendon
Sudden trauma to the foot
Shoes with poor arch support
What can you do to relieve the pain and swelling?
Rest (try to get off your feet)
Use heel cushions in your shoes
Stretch (see pics below)
Loosen tight muscles, increase range of motion, and improve posture as Eric demonstrates six great stretches.