Person holding heel in pain

Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

Loyola Medicine podiatrist Christina Staskiewicz, DPMBy Christina Staskiewicz, DPM, Orthopaedics

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain on the bottom of the foot, especially in the area of the heel and arch.

This pain is caused by an overly tight plantar fascia (the ligament that connects your heel and toes). Putting too much stress on this ligament causes inflammation, tiny tears and pain.

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, one of the best ways to get relief is by stretching and strengthening the area giving you trouble.

Loosening the plantar fascia can prevent it from tearing, strengthen the supporting muscles (thus helping to reduce stress on the ligament) and reduce inflammation.

Here are some exercises that will help heal your plantar fasciitis.

Tennis Ball Roll

While seated, grab a tennis ball, rolling pin, frozen water bottle, or other cylindrical object and put it under your foot. Gently roll the object underneath the arch of your foot.

Perform this exercise for three to five minutes. You can repeat it two times per day.

Towel Stretch

Grab a towel and put it around your foot. While sitting, extend your leg in front of you. Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your leg stable. You should feel your calf muscle stretching.

Hold this position for about 45 seconds, take a break and repeat it two more times. You can repeat this exercise four to six times a day.

Toe Stretch

In a seated position, push your leg out so that just your heel is on the floor. Bend down and grab your big toe, bending it backward. While doing this, flex your ankle up so that it pulls away from the floor.

Hold this position for about 30 seconds, take a break and repeat it two to four more times. You can repeat this exercise numerous times a day.

Toe Curls

In a seated position, put a towel flat under your foot. Your goal will be to scrunch the towel up using only your toes. Once you have bunched the towel up, curl your toes the other way to straighten it back out.

Perform this exercise 10 times. You can repeat it one to two times per day.

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other (the back foot should be the one with plantar fasciitis). Keeping the back leg straight, lean your weight forward, bending into the front knee. Make sure your back heel stays on the ground, stretching your calf muscle.

Hold this position for about 45 seconds, take a break and repeat two to three more times. You can repeat this exercise four to six times a day.

Picking Up Marbles

For something a little more challenging, try putting marbles on the ground next to a coffee mug. Using only your toes, grab the marbles, lift them off the ground, and drop them into the cup.

Continue until you have gathered all the marbles. You can repeat this exercise one to two times a day.

Follow Your Doctor's Orders

Keep in mind that if you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis pain, it’s a good idea to consult with a foot and ankle specialist from Loyola Medicine. They’ll be able to tailor your exercises to your specific needs and create a treatment plan that helps relieve your pain.

Christina Staskiewicz, DPM, is a podiatrist in the department of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation at Loyola Medicine. Her clinical interests include arthritis of the feet, foot pain, foot fractures, bunions and congenital foot deformities.

She completed medical school at Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and her residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at Loyola University Medical Center.

You can make an appointment to see Dr. Staskiewicz today by calling 888-584-7888 or through our self-scheduling service.