Plantar Fasciitis: Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Note: Each exercise should create a pulling feeling but should not cause pain.

Towel stretch

Picture of calf-plantar fascia stretch
slide 1 of 5
slide 1 of 5, Towel stretch,
  1. Sit with your legs extended and knees straight.
  2. Place a towel around your foot just under the toes.
  3. Hold each end of the towel in each hand, with your hands above your knees.
  4. Pull back with the towel so that your foot stretches toward you.
  5. Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

Calf stretch

Picture of calf stretch
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slide 2 of 5, Calf stretch,

Note: This exercise stretches the muscles at the back of the lower leg (the calf) and the Achilles tendon. Do this exercise 3 or 4 times a day, 5 days a week.

  1. Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch about a step behind your other leg.
  2. Keeping your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Plantar fascia and calf stretch

Picture of a stretching exercise for the plantar fascia and calf
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slide 3 of 5, Plantar fascia and calf stretch,

Note: Stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles can increase flexibility and decrease heel pain. You can do this exercise several times each day and before and after activity.

  1. Stand on a step as shown above. Be sure to hold on to the banister.
  2. Slowly let your heels down over the edge of the step as you relax your calf muscles. You should feel a gentle stretch across the bottom of your foot and up the back of your leg to your knee.
  3. Hold the stretch about 15 to 30 seconds, and then tighten your calf muscle a little to bring your heel back up to the level of the step. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Towel curls

Picture of the towel curl exercise
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slide 4 of 5, Towel curls,
  1. While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.
  2. Then, also using your toes, push the towel away from you.

Note: Make this exercise more challenging by placing a weighted object, such as a soup can, on the other end of the towel.

Marble pickups

Picture of a marble pickup exercise for plantar fasciitis
slide 5 of 5
slide 5 of 5, Marble pickups,
  1. Put marbles on the floor next to a cup.
  2. Using your toes, try to lift the marbles up from the floor and put them in the cup.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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