By Tom Fontana, MSPT
Do you wonder if that pain on the underside of your heel is plantar fasciitis? Here’s a quick test you can perform to see if it’s plantar fasciitis or not.
Windlass test: Perform this test in two positions, one with your foot flat on the ground and the other with the back of the heel resting on a surface or free to move in the air (such as if you’re resting your leg across your other knee).
Pull up on the big toe just beyond the toe knuckle (closer to the ball of the foot than pictured here—sorry!) and pull it up toward your knee. If this produces pain in the arch or heel of your foot, you likely have plantar fasciitis.
Youch…that hurts! Now what?
Gently, you need to lengthen your plantar fascia by stretching it. The stretch is very similar to the Windlass test, except make sure you’re not pulling to the point of pain. Each stretch should be performed 3 times and held for 20-30 seconds. Grab the underside of each toe (just beyond the knuckle of the toe, so a little lower than pictured) and pull up toward your knee, stretching the arch of your foot.
Good luck and be patient—plantar fasciitis does not resolve overnight!