Help Is on the Way for Plantar Fasciitis

Hatfield Strap

The Hatfield Strap

Keith Hatfield, a former athletic trainer in the Kansas City Royals system, has spent 10 years as a certified athletic trainer and 15 years as a physician’s assistant. So he’s seen his share of injuries in athletes. He’s also suffered from one himself: plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

Typical treatments for plantar fasciitis include foot and calf stretching; icing; night splints; injections; and, in extreme cases, surgery. Some athletes use an incline board in rehab to stretch their calf muscles.

Hatfield felt this regimen lacked an important element: a way to stretch the foot while simultaneously stretching the calf. Night splints pulled the toes back and the incline board stretched the calf, but “there was nothing in between the two,” he says. So he devised a strap to remedy the problem. The Hatfield Strap uses the weight of the user to anchor the strap. You sit on the strap, which runs down the back of your leg and up and over your foot and connects to two handles. When you pull on the handles, you pull your toes up and back to stretch your foot, calf and, possibly, your hamstring.

Hatfield used it on himself first—figuring that if it worked for him, it could work for others.

He also designed a shoulder attachment for the strap, which healthy athletes can use to prevent injuries caused by tight calves or tight hamstrings.

“It allows your body’s weight to serve as the pulling mechanism,” says Hatfield, “giving you a more effective stretch while getting the body to relax.”

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Filed Under: Plantar Fasciitis

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