Got Plantar Fasciitis? Try These Stretching Exercises

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Plantar Fasiciitis - What is it?

Updated June 16, 2014.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that causes discomfort directly under the heel of the foot. Typical symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
  • Pain directly under the heel of the foot
  • Symptoms worst the first steps in the morning
  • Difficulty walking long distances because of discomfort
Treatment of plantar fasciitis is focused on relieving inflammation and stretching the tight tissues along the arch of the foot.

Here is a simple stretching routine that will alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis in most patients.

Calf Stretch

Updated June 16, 2014.

The easiest way to do the calf stretch is by standing about 1 to 2 feet from a wall.
  • 1. Lean against the wall with your arms outstretched.
  • 2. Place one foot under your shoulders, and one foot behind your body.
  • 3. Keep your back foot flat on the ground and feel a stretch in the back of your heel (the Achilles tendon).
  • 4. Hold the stretch for a count of 10, and repeat. Do both sides.
To accentuate this stretch, point your back knee down towards the ground while keeping the foot flat on the floor.

Toe Dips

Updated June 16, 2014.

To perform a toe dip, find a sturdy box, stair step, or curb.
  • 1. Stand on the edge of the ledge with your toes. Have something to hold on to for balance.
  • 2. Keeping your toes on the ledge, allow your heel to drop down to the ground.
  • 3. Feel the stretch in the back of the heel. Try to relax and allow the heel to continue to stretch down towards the ground.
You can do both feet at once, but you will get a better stretch if you do one foot at a time.

Start with both, and when you feel comfortable, do one at a time.

Cross Leg Stretch

Updated June 16, 2014.

The cross-leg stretch is done is a seated position.
  • 1. Bend one leg over the other and grasp your foot.
  • 2. Pull your toes up towards your shin while holding your foot with the other hand.
  • 3. Feel a stretch on the bottom of the foot.
Hold this stretch for a count of 10 while feeling the stretch along the arch of the foot. Repeat at least 3 times on each side.

Updated June 16, 2014.

A towel pull can be done using a towel, a sheet, or a rubber Thera-Band given to you by your physical therapist.
  • 1. Hold the ends of the towel, and loop the middle around your toes.
  • 2. Keep your knee straight with your toes pointing up.
  • 3. Pull the towel ends, pulling your toes towards your body.
This will stretch both the back of your leg and the bottom of your foot.

Updated June 16, 2014.

The final step of this routine is to ice the arch of the foot.
  • 1. Get some 12-ounce or 16-ounce plastic water bottles, or frozen juice containers.
  • 2. Place water bottles in freezer.
  • 3. Once frozen, roll the bottle under your foot for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 4. Refreeze the bottle for your next treatment.


BF Digiovanni, et al. "Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Exercise Improves Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. A Prospective Clinical Trial with Two-Year Follow-Up" J. Bone Joint Surg. Am., Aug 2006; 88: 1775 - 1781.

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