Exercises & Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

Your physical therapist will perform an evaluation to determine both the source and the cause of your symptoms. Below, is a list of exercises and stretches that might assist you in relieving your plantar fasciitis while you await your appointment. If any exercise/stretch causes you more pain, discontinue the exercise/stretch and ask your physical therapist for assistance.

Breakdown of Exercises & Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

1. Gastroc/Soleus Stretch

While leaning up against the wall, place one foot in front of the other with toes facing forward.  The heel of back foot should stay on the ground and knee straight to stretch gastroc. Hold this position for 30 seconds.  To make the stretch three-dimensional, perform the same stretch with back foot facing inward and outward for 30 seconds each.  The second part of the stretch focuses on the soleus muscle (a very important decelerating muscle while running). It is similar to the gastroc stretch, but shorten up the split stance position by moving the back foot forward while bending knee.  Perform 30 seconds and 3 sets on each leg.

2. Heel Raise on Towel with Ball Squeeze

Roll up a large towel and place on the ground.  Place toes and mid-foot on the towel and perform a heel raise lifting up onto toes.  Pace should be slow and controlled throughout the motion. A ball can be placed between ankle and squeezed to put foot in optimal position by activating posterior tibialis and intrinsic foot muscles.  Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

3. Great Toe Stretch on Wall

Place your foot against the wall with your toes (specifically the great toe) extended on wall.  Without moving your foot or toes, you will press great toe into the wall at 50% of max pressure (isometric contraction).  Press and hold for 10 seconds and then attempt to lift great toe off the wall and hold for 10 seconds. This will provide a light stretch through bottom of foot.  Perform 5 rounds of 10 seconds pressing and 10 seconds lifting off. Check out our video for more explanation.

4. Downward Dog Ankle Pumping

With hands and feet on the ground, move from pushup position to downward dog position.  In the downward dog position, try to keep heels flat on the ground. Hold this position statically for 10 seconds.  Then, perform 5 pumps of each ankle by alternating knee bends. You can perform this cycle of 10 second static holds and 5 pumps for 3 rounds.

5. Intrinsic Foot Strength Overhead/Rotational Reach

To maximize benefit of this exercise, perform with shoes off.  Maintain a split stance position with one foot in front of the other.  Most of your weight should be through the front foot. In this position, perform alternating overhead reach with each arm.  Then, perform alternating rotating across body reaching with each arm. If this is easy, progress to overhead/rotational reaching in a single leg stance position.  Make sure foot is engaged with ground by “pressing away the floor” and squeezing glutes. Check out our video for more explanation.

6. Banded Squats

Place a band around knees with feet in a comfortable position (usually shoulder width apart).  Put pressure through the band by lightly pressing knees outward and perform a squat or sit to stand on chair.  Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

7. Toe CARs

Let’s have some fun!  This is a challenging and fun drill to perform to maximize intrinsic foot strength and control.  Maintain a seated position with both feet on the ground barefoot. Start with lightly pressing great toe into the ground and lift other 4 toes off the ground.  Hold this position 5 seconds. Then, switch to lifting great toe off the ground and lightly pressing 4 other toes into the ground (this is the hard one!). Alternate each position for 10 rounds.  Being able to control great toe extension is extremely important for many lower extremity injuries!

Exercises & Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis Video

We know it helps for many people to have a visual, so here is a video displaying some effective exercises and stretches to help with plantar fasciitis. 


Find Physical Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

By incorporating these exercises and stretches into your daily regimen, you will start to develop the muscles that have been causing your pain. Be sure to reach out to our team here at Impact Physical Therapy and schedule your evaluation today!

About Dr. Eric Hefferon

Dr. Eric Hefferon received his advanced doctorate degree in physical therapy from the innovative A.T. Still University. He has been practicing in the west valley for 6 years and has made strong ties to local gyms and medical practitioners. Dr. Hefferon started Impact Physical Therapy due to his passion for an individualized healthcare approach. He knew by creating a clinic that was out of network he could help give patients the results they deserve. His treatment style attracts patients from all over the valley and even out of state. People will travel to seek Dr. Hefferon’s solutions!

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