Stretching Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis - What is it?

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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

calf stretch
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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.

Stair Stretch

stair stretch
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To perform a stair stretch,  find a stair step or curb.

  • 1. Keep the foot you're stretching back, and take one step up with the other foot
  • 2. Lean in to the stairs keeping the back foot flat.
  • 3. Feel the stretch in the back of the heel. Try to relax and allow your body to lean further into the stairs.

Foot Stretch

foot stretch
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The foot stretch is done is a seated position.

  • 1. Reach forward and grasp your foot.  If you aren't flexible enough, just cross your leg 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.

Heel Cord Stretch

heel stretch
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A heel cord can be done by reaching forward and grasping your foot.  If you aren't flexible enough, use a towel or sheet and wrap around your toes to pull towards your body.

  • 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.

Wall Lean

wall lean
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 Strand up against a wall, and place one foot in front of the other.  Keep the front knee straight and place the toes up against the wall as high as possible.  Lean in to the wall with the back knee feeling a stretch in the foot and heel of the front foot.

Plantar Fasciitis Rehab - Icing the Foot

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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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