6 stretches you can try to improve your plantar fasciitis

One of the most common causes of foot pain is none other than plantar fasciitis. Occurring in about 10% of the general population, plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation, overuse, or injury to the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the front of the foot to the heel.

Plantar fasciitis can cause pain and stiffness in the heel and arch of the foot, and it doesn’t always go away on its own, but luckily, there are at-home stretches that you can do to help reduce plantar fasciitis pain. 

Stretches that can help plantar fasciitis pain

There are many ways to relieve pain due to plantar fasciitis, including wearing special shoes and icing the affected area, but stretching is one of the most helpful things you can do. Here are six common stretches that may help you relieve pain in your foot:

  • Plantar fascia massage

Sit in a chair or stand with the affected foot resting on a tennis ball, golf ball or frozen water bottle — a frozen water bottle is best as the ice can help reduce inflammation. Gently roll your foot back and forth over the ball or water bottle, starting at just below the ball of your foot and ending just before your heel. Repeat slowly 10 times for each foot, and do two sets per foot up to two times daily.

Note: You should apply enough pressure to feel a gentle stretch, but you shouldn’t experience pain during this exercise.

  • Heel raise

You will need a step with a handrail for this stretch. Stand with the balls of your feet at the edge of the step and your heels hanging off the edge, and then slowly and gently lower your heels just below the edge of the step, making sure to hold on to the railing for balance. Hold for approximately 30 seconds and then rise back onto the balls of your feet. You may feel a gentle stretch in your calf muscle during this exercise. Repeat exercise two to four times. You may do this several times a day.

Note: Do this exercise slowly and with controlled movements.

  • Standing or seated toe towel scrunches

Stand or sit upright in a chair with the affected foot resting on a towel with your toes spread, and then curl your toes to scrunch and draw the towel toward you before pushing it away again. Do this 10 to 15 times, and then repeat the set after a brief rest. You can do this twice a day, and as this exercise gets easier, you may place a small weight between 2 and 4 pounds at the far end of the towel to make the exercise more challenging. 

Note: Make sure that your whole foot stays on the ground during this exercise and that only your toes do the work.

  • Seated plantar fascia stretch

Sit in a chair and cross the affected foot over the other knee so your ankle rests on top of your leg, and then use one hand to hold your ankle and the other to hold your toes. Gently bend the toes and ankle upward as far as possible to stretch the arch and calf muscle, and with the hand holding your ankle, massage along the arch of your foot. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat three times. Perform this exercise once a day.

Note: Complete this stretch in a slow and controlled manner.

  • Wall-facing calf stretch

Stand upright facing a wall at arm’s length, and place your hands flat against the wall. With both feet flat on the floor and pointing straight ahead, extend one leg backward and bend your front leg until you feel a stretch in your back leg. The knee of your back leg should remain straight. Hold for approximately 30 seconds and then repeat two to three times on each side. Perform this exercise one to three times per day.

Note: You can also do this exercise while holding on to the back of a chair or a counter.

  • Towel stretch

Sit with both legs straight out in front of you, knees straight. Place a towel around the affected foot and gently pull toward you so the top of your foot bends back slightly toward you and you can feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds and repeat two to four times. You may do this exercise up to five times a day.

Note: This stretch can help reduce morning pain when done before getting out of bed.

If you’re dealing with mild plantar fasciitis, these at-home stretches may be enough to help you deal with your pain. But if you’re experiencing recurring or worsening pain in your foot due to plantar fasciitis, you may need physical therapy to achieve long-term relief. 

At Lattimore Physical Therapy, our licensed physical therapists specialize in helping people deal with ongoing pain in many areas, including the feet. If you’re ready to kick your plantar fasciitis pain to the curb, contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

Schedule an Appointment

Related Posts

What to look for in good shoes if you have plantar fasciitis

What to look for in good shoes if you have plantar fasciitis

The shoes you wear every day impact your posture and your gait. The wrong shoes can cause terrible foot pain and injuries by putting strain on your feet. If you’re not familiar, plantar fasciitis is when the ligament that spans the arch of your foot, connecting to the...

read more
6 top physical therapy treatments for plantar fasciitis

6 top physical therapy treatments for plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that can lead to intense foot pain. If you have plantar fasciitis, seeking treatment as soon as possible can be crucial to your recovery. This condition can cause pain, swelling and tenderness. These symptoms can make simple tasks like...

read more