New York — May 18, 2010 / ( — As women across the country continue to transition from winter boots and high-heeled shoes to ballet flats and flip flops for summer, it is more important than ever to stretch and take precautions in order to avoid painful achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. More than 10 percent of the population has problems with the plantar fascia–the band of connective tissue that runs from the bottom of the heel along the sole of the foot towards the toes, and stretching can help prevent problems, said Manhattan foot surgeon and podiatrist Dr. Krista Archer.

“Routine stretching is very important to healing plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Most of those affected by plantar fasciitis have decreased flexibility and tight achilles tendons. I advise patients to perform all stretches twice a day, hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and then relax and repeat 10 times. Do three sets. If exercising, stretch before and after workouts as well,” said Archer.

Towel stretch

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around the top of the foot. Slowly pull the towel towards you, keeping your body straight. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then relax. Repeat 10 times.

Calf/achilles stretch

Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at chest height. Move the heel back and with the foot flat on the floor. Move the other leg forward and slowly lean toward the wall until you feel a stretch through the calf. Hold and repeat. Bend back knee for second part of stretch and hold.

Stair stretch

Stand on a step on the balls for your feet and hold the rail or wall for balance. Slowly lower the heel of the foot to stretch the arch of your foot. Bend the back leg for second part of stretch and hold.

Toe stretch

Sit on the floor with knee bent. Pull the toes back on the foot until stretch across the arch is felt. Hold and repeat.

Frozen can roll (plantar fasciitis)

Roll your bare foot back and forth from the tip of the toes to the heel over a frozen juice can. This is a good exercise after activity because it not only stretches the plantar fascia but also provides cold therapy.

About Dr. Krista Archer 

As a doctor of podiatry medicine and an associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (AACFAS), she is currently on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital and performs her surgeries at Lenox Hill’s Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, the Center for Specialty Care, and at 885 Park Avenue’s fully accredited operating room. She is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA).