The 8 Best Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis

Get outta here, heel pain.

Originally Published: 
The best stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis, according to experts.


Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue in the foot. According to physiotherapist Helen O'Leary, you can dull the resulting heel aches by icing the area, wearing cushy shoe inserts, and adding a few exercises for plantar fasciitis to your routine.

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Heel Raises

To get started, you can strengthen your calf muscles to help prevent plantar fasciitis, says physical therapist Lalitha McSorley.

- Stand on stairs or ledge with heels hanging off.

- Gently lower heel past edge.

- Slowly rise up on toes.

- Do 10 times, 3x a day.


Calf Raises With Toes Lifted

O’Leary also likes this exercise to gently work the muscles and plantar fascia in the feet.

- Place rolled towel close to wall.

- Face wall.

- Place toes on towel so they’re lifted.

- Push through balls of feet to raise heels off ground.

- Do 12x.


Calf Stretch

Regular calf stretches can also improve your ankle mobility to relieve plantar fasciitis, says O’Leary.

- Face a wall, one leg out behind you.

- Straighten leg, press heel to floor.

- Lean forward, bend front knee.

- Hold 30 seconds 3-5 times.

- Repeat on other leg.


Towel Curls

McSorley suggests this easy move to strengthen the arch of your foot.

- Place a towel in front of a chair.

- Sit with your feet resting flat on towel.

- Scrunch your toes together to draw towel in.

- Un-scrunch to move towel away.

- Repeat 10x.


Toe Extenders

This exercise relieves foot stiffness associated with plantar fasciitis, McSorley says.

- Sit in a chair.

- Gently bring leg up to chest.

- Grab toes and pull back while pushing ankle forward.

- Feel stretch in arch of foot.

- Hold for 20 seconds.


Plantar Fascia Stretch

Try this move to massage plantar fascia and reduce tension, says physical therapist Paige Gibbens, PT, DPT.

- Sit down.

- Grab toes.

- Pull toes back towards shin.

- Use thumb to rub tight band on bottom of foot.

- Repeat 10x, 3 times a day.


Standing Ankle Stretch

Try this maneuver from physical therapist Dr. Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT:

- Face wall in a lunge position.

- Place toes of front foot against wall.

- Keep heels flat on ground.

- Bend front knee to touch wall.

- Hold 5 seconds.

- Repeat 20 times per side.


Arch Massage

McSorley suggests regular arch massages to help prevent further injury.

- Sit in chair, ball under affected foot.

- Slowly apply pressure.

- Roll ball up and down arch.

- Do this for 30 seconds, 3 times a day.

- If you feel pain, ease up.

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