Foot Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue in your foot known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is a frequent cause of heel pain. This condition is common in runners pregnant women, obese individuals and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. Stretching exercises for the plantar fascia can help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis, but consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

A runner is pulling her heel back and stretching it.
Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Wall Stretch

A wall stretch can help to strengthen and stretch the calf, as well as the soleus and gastronemius, both muscles in the foot. Firmly plant your hands on a wall in front of you with your arms fully extended. Move one foot in front of the other. The foot with plantar fasciitis should remain in back. Slightly bend your knee on the leg in back. Hold this position until you feel your calf muscles stretching. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions each day. Hold each repetition for 30 seconds.

Rolling Stretch

A rolling stretch can help prevent recurrences of plantar fasciitis, as well as the development of bone spurs. Complete this exercise in a seated position, with your back against the back of the chair. A majority of your weight should remain on the chair while completing this exercise. Place a cylinder-like object -- such as a can or a bottle -- underneath the heel of your foot. Slowly roll the cylinder-like object to your toes and then slowly bring it back down to your heel again. Apply firm pressure to your foot as your complete this exercise. Repeat the rolling stretch 10 times on the affected foot. Try to complete this exercise three times each day.

Stair Stretch

A stair stretch can help alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis. Stand on the edge of a step on the balls of your feet. For added support, hold onto a railing. Slowly transfer your weight onto the foot with the plantar fasciitis and lower the heel of that foot to stretch your arch and your calf muscle. Once you feel a stretch, hold the position for 15 seconds. Slowly place yourself in the starting position and repeat this exercise 10 times.

Towel Stretch

A towel stretch can help with decreased flexibility and tightness in the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Loop a towel around the foot with plantar fasciitis. Slowly pull the towel toward your body, keeping your body straight. The only part of your body that will be moving is your foot. Your heel should raise slightly off of the floor. Hold this position for 15 seconds, relax for a few seconds, and repeat this exercise 10 times.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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