Plantar fasciitis stretches: 6 exercises and other home remedies

Foot stretches and exercises can help plantar fasciitis by relieving pain, improving muscle strength, and promoting flexibility in the foot muscles and ligaments.

Overuse, strain, and inflammation on the plantar fascia ligament that connects the heel to the toes cause the foot injury that doctors refer to as plantar fasciitis. The tissue that the condition affects is under the arch of the foot but can cause a stabbing pain in the heel.

Plantar fasciitis usually resolves within 6 to 18 months without treatment. With 6 months of consistent, nonoperative treatment, people with plantar fasciitis will recover 97 percent of the time.

In this article, we look at stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis relief and recovery and other home remedies that could help.

Plantar fasciitis stretches

Plantar fasciitis may often be an overuse injury. Often, it occurs in runners or people who are overweight or obese. It may also cause tension in surrounding muscles, leading to pain beyond the heel.

A few simple stretches can reduce tension in the foot and calf. This offers both rapid pain relief and a steady improvement of symptoms over time.

People can perform these exercises two or three times every day. They should not be painful.

1. Stretching the calf

Man doing calf muscle and foot stretch against wall

Muscle tightness in the feet and calves can make the pain of plantar fasciitis worse. Loosening the calf muscles can relieve the pain. Try the following stretch:

lean your hands against a wall

straighten the knee of the affected leg and bend the other knee in front

keep both feet flat on the ground

there should be a stretching sensation in the heel and calf of the extended leg

hold for 10 seconds

repeat two to three times

2. Rolling stretch

Placing a round object under the foot and rolling back and forth can help loosen up the foot muscles. People can use a rolling pin, golf ball, or specialized foam roller for this. Sports stores and online stores sell foam foot rollers.

Use the following steps to stretch the foot:

sit tall on a chair

roll a round object under the arch of the foot

roll for 2 minutes

3. Stretching the plantar fascia

To relieve muscle tightness in the plantar fascia, try the following:

sitting on a chair, cross the injured heel over the other leg

hold the foot in your opposite hand

pull the toes toward the shin to create tension in the arch of the foot

place the other hand on the bottom of the foot to feel for tension in the plantar fascia

use a towel to grasp and stretch the foot if it is difficult to hold otherwise

hold for 10 seconds

repeat two to three times

4. Foot flexes

Pregnant woman stretching foot and leg with towel or exercise band

Flexing the foot increases blood flow to the area and relieves tension in the calves, which can help with pain. This exercise uses an elastic stretch band, which people can buy from sports stores or online.

Use the following steps:

sit on the floor with legs straight

wrap the elastic band around your foot, holding the ends in your hands

gently point the toes away from the body

slowly return to starting position

repeat 10 times

5. Towel curls

Curling a hand towel or facecloth with the toes can stretch the foot and calf muscles. Try doing these stretches before walking or doing any other morning tasks. Use the following steps:

sit on a chair with both feet flat and a small towel in front of the feet

grasp the center of the towel with your toes

curl the towel towards you

relax the foot and repeat five times

Marble feet exercise

6. Marble pickups

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