10 Exercises for Your Plantar Fascia

by Laura Newton

10 Exercises for Your Plantar Fascia

Connecting your heel to your toes, the plantar fascia is a ligament that supports the arch of your foot. When this tissue becomes injured or inflamed, it can lead to a condition called plantar fasciitis—making it painful to bear weight on your foot.  These 10 exercises can help stretch and strengthen your foot and lower leg muscles to heal and protect your plantar fascia.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Aim to do each of these exercises 2 to 3 times daily. It’s fine to complete them throughout the day, rather than all at once.
  • Do you have an active case of plantar fasciitis? Be sure to start slowly and gently with these exercises.
  • If you experience any pain while working through any of these exercises, stop immediately and consult a doctor.


Toe stretch

Stretching both your plantar fascia and calves can relieve and prevent plantar fasciitis—and this toe stretch exercise is one way to do this.

How to:

  • Sitting in a chair, extend one leg at a time, keeping your heel on the floor.
  • Reach down and use your hand to gently pull your big toe toward your ankle.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.


Towel stretch

This exercise can stretch the plantar fascia, improve flexibility in the calf muscles, and help keep the Achilles tendon strong.

How to:

  • Sit with a straight back, legs extended, and knees straight.
  • Place a towel around your foot, under your toes, holding an end of the towel in each hand.
  • Ensuring your hands remain above your knees, pull on the towel so that your foot stretches back toward you.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.


Calf and fascia stretch

This stretch works to decrease heel pain by increasing flexibility in both the calf and plantar fascia.

 How to:

  • Standing on a stair step, hold onto the railing as you slowly drop your heels over the edge of the step and relax your calf muscles.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Tighten your calf muscle to bring your heel back up in line with the step.


Towel curls

This exercise works to improve strength, coordination, and flexibility in your foot to help your balance and support your arches.

How to:

  • Sitting down, place your foot on a towel on the floor.
  • Scrunch your toes to move the towel toward you and then away from you.


Marble pickups

Marble pickups are an easy exercise that can help strengthen your feet, increase flexibility, and support your arches.

How to:

  • Put marbles and a cup on the floor.
  • Move each marble from the floor to the cup by grasping them one at a time with your toes.


Calf stretch

This exercise works to stretch your calf and Achilles tendon to support the plantar fascia. the muscles at the back of the lower leg (the calf) and the Achilles tendon.

How to:

  • Put your hands against a wall at about eye level.
  • Move one leg a step behind the other.
  • Keep the heel of your back leg on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times.


Kneeling plantar fascia stretch

This exercise works to stretch the plantar fascia and calf muscle. To make it easier, you can also complete this exercise on leg at a time.

How to:

  • With your hands and knees on the floor, point your heels up and place your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor.
  • Sit back slowly toward your ankles before standing up.
  • Kneel on one knee, keeping your other leg forward
  • Place the foot of your forward leg flat on the ground and bend your knee, making sure the heel of the back leg is pointing up and the ball and toes of that foot are on the floor.
  • Sit back toward the ankle of the rear leg.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times, alternating sides each time.


Plantar fascia roll

The plantar fascia roll helps to stimulate blood flow to the bottom of the foot, break up scar tissue, bring down inflammation and swelling, and relax muscles and ligaments.

 How to:

  • Sitting in a chair, place your foot on a can, water bottle, or other tube-shaped object.
  • Roll your foot forward and backward over the object for 2 to 5 minutes.


Sitting heel raises

This exercise works to strengthen your calf and foot to support plantar fascia health.

How to:

  • Sitting on a chair and keeping the tips of your toes in contact with the floor, raise your toes up as high as you can without pain.
  • Lower your heels.
  • Complete this exercise up to 20 times daily.


Tip toe walk

This toe-walking exercise works to support the strength and mobility the foot and calf muscles, plantar fascia, and Achilles tendon, as well as encourage a range of motion in the ankle.

How to:

  • Standing barefoot and as tall as you can on your toes, walk forward with slow, small, balanced steps.
  • Walk about 20 m (about 22 yards) before taking a short rest.
  • Complete three sets.

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