Fascia Stretching Explained: 5 Stretches, 10 Best Practices
Keep reading to learn how to stretch your fascia and what can cause fascial tightness. The article discusses exercises that target different areas of the body, including the hips, low back, and plantar fascia in the heel of the foot.
Here are some exercises that can decrease restrictions in the fascia, stretch your muscles, and relieve symptoms of fasciitis.
This exercise stretches the gastrocnemius, or calf muscle, and can help relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
- Stand facing a wall with one leg in front of the other.
- With both hands on the wall, lean into your front leg, bending the front knee. Keep your back leg straight.
- Keep your feet even and flat, and lean forward to feel a stretch in your heel.
- Breathe and keep stretching for about 1 minute. Then, switch to the other leg.
Learn more stretches for plantar fasciitis.
Stretching the heel cord and foot intrinsic muscles can help relieve plantar fasciitis.
- Sit with your right leg extended in front of you.
- Take a stretching band or any piece of fabric and loop it over your right foot.
- Gently pull back on the band to bend your foot towards you and stretch the bottom of your foot.
- Repeat on the other side.
Downward-Facing Dog is a yoga pose that can stretch your legs and back, and strengthen your whole body.
- Start in plank pose or tabletop position. Make sure you are pressing evenly into your hands with your fingers widely spread.
- Lift your hips, rotate your shoulders outwards, and keep your elbows and knees slightly bent. You should now be in a triangular position with your weight as evenly distributed as possible.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute and lower gently.
This stretch can be beneficial for your quads and hip flexors. You can hold onto a chair or wall for added balance.
- Hold your left ankle with your left hand.
- Squeeze your glutes and your abdominal muscles.
- You should feel a stretch across your hips as you lean slightly.
- Hold for about 1 minute. Repeat on the other leg.
Side angle stretch
This can stretch the fascia and improve mobility in your hips and side body.
- With your feet wide, turn your right foot to a 45-degree angle.
- Bend your right knee.
- If you can, bend to rest your right hand on the floor. If you can’t reach without straining, rest it lightly on your right leg.
- Raise your left hand up and over your head, keeping your chest open.
- Hold the stretch for around 1 minute and gently stand up.
- Repeat on the other side.
Common causes of fascial restriction may include the following:
Lack of stretching
A lack of muscle stretching is one of the most common reasons for fascial restriction. Regular stretching
Sitting too much
Being sedentary and sitting too much is associated with obesity and musculoskeletal disorders. Prolonged hip flexion and a slouched posture from sitting can also cause the fascia to stiffen.
Movement directly affects the flexibility of your fascia. A lack of movement can cause the fascia to become tight and restricted.
Evidence suggests that physical exercise and body movement can improve fascial health.
Injuries or surgeries
Muscle strains and other types of athletic injuries can cause lesions in the collagen fibers of the fascia. In fact, muscle strains are
Surgeries can also cause fascial restrictions in and around the surgical site.
Because fascia is composed of collagen fibers, it can slide between surfaces. However, chronic inflammation can restrict this mobility, which can lead to musculoskeletal pain.
The Fascia Research Society defines fascia as a sheath or sheet of connective tissue. It attaches, encloses, and separates muscles and other organs from one another.
The fascia system
- improved mobility
- improved flexibility
- increased muscle function
- reduced muscle and joint pain
- reduced risk of injury
- improved body alignment and posture
- improved inner body awareness
Here is a list of 10 best practices to improve fascia mobility.
1. Stretch for 10–20 minutes each day
Foot stretches may help ease pain from plantar fasciitis, one of the most common fascial injuries.
Make sure that you stretch safely and work toward improving your flexibility gradually.
2. Get regular exercise
Regular exercise helps keep the fascia from becoming stiff and losing flexibility due to lack of movement.
3. Use a foam roller
Foam rollers may help loosen different muscles in the body. Talk with your doctor about whether using a foam roller is a good treatment option for you.
4. Get a massage
Massages can be pleasant and may help to reduce stress. In addition, a type of massage called a myofascial release
5. Try heat therapy
6. Try cold therapy
If you are recovering from a muscle or other type of injury, you might benefit from cold therapy.
Cryotherapy is a type of cold therapy used to treat injuries and for exercise recovery.
Cryotherapy may be most beneficial within the first few hours after an injury or strenuous exercise.
7. Do yoga or Pilates
Dynamic stretching with yoga or Pilates
8. Sit up straight
Some postural habits, such as slouching, have been associated with musculoskeletal pain.
9. Get dry needling
Dry needling is another tool that may help relieve myofascial pain.
10. Work with a professional who specializes in mobility
Physical therapists are professionals who help treat and prevent musculoskeletal conditions. They often prescribe exercises to decrease musculoskeletal pain. They may also recommend ergonomic strategies to help you avoid future injuries.
Chronic pain is not a normal part of the aging process. Contact your healthcare professional if you have unresolved pain. They can determine the cause of your pain and rule out possible underlying conditions.
The fascia system is tissue that protects, supports, and connects many body parts. It is essential for many functions of the body, including sitting, jumping, walking, and running.
Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing chronic or worsening pain. They can determine the best treatment for your condition.