7 Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain Relief)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: March 11, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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Plantar fasciitis is a chronic ailment that mostly affects the arch or heel of the foot. When the ligament that links your toes and heels (plantar fascia) gets too tight, it may cause tiny tears and pain.

However, the chronic plantar fasciitis pain can be alleviated by performing certain exercises.

As a certified fitness trainer, I went through a vast amount of research to understand what plantar fasciitis is and the best ways to relieve the pain caused by it.

In this article, I will detail my research and findings on plantar fasciitis, the best exercises to alleviate the pain, and the safety considerations.

Quick Summary

  • The best plantar fasciitis exercises include the wall-facing calf stretch, tennis ball roll, toe curls with a towel, towel stretch, heel raise, and picking up marbles.
  • These exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the calves and plantar fascia, offering both sitting and standing activity options.
  • Plantar fasciitis affects a wide range of individuals, including athletes and those who spend many hours on their feet.
  • In my opinion, consistently performing these targeted exercises can significantly improve comfort and mobility for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.

The Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

A woman working out her heels

Wall-Facing Calf Stretch

The exercise stretches the Achilles tendon, which helps with plantar fasciitis.

You bend one foot forward and extend one leg straight backward to stretch the calf.

How to perform:

  1. Stand with one leg in front of the other, facing a wall (the back leg should be the one suffering from plantar fasciitis).
  2. Lean forward, bending into your front leg while maintaining the back foot straight.
  3. Maintain your rear heel on the ground while stretching the calf muscle.
  4. Hold this posture for 40 seconds, then take a break and repeat the desired number of times.

Stretching and strengthening plantar fasciitis exercises can considerably lessen your discomfort and improve your walking.

This piece provides the best plantar fasciitis exercise to add to your daily workout routine. Incorporate these exercises together with the best post-workout supplements for faster recovery.

Related: Seated Soleus Stretch

Tennis Ball Roll

A person doing the tennis ball roll exercise

You'll require a tennis ball or another little ball of similar size for this workout.

If you don't have a ball, you may substitute it with a water bottle and other cylindrical items.

How to perform:

  1. Place the ball beneath your affected foot while sitting in a chair.
  2. Roll the tennis ball back and forth beneath your foot's arch to stretch the plantar fascia ligament.
  3. Roll for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. This stretch may be done twice a day.

Related: How to Use a Massage Ball

Toe Curls With Towel

Curling a towel with only your toes can stretch the leg and calf muscles.

Completing these stretches before walking or doing any other morning duties is useful.

How to perform:

  1. Sit on the bench with both feet flat on the floor and a little towel in before your feet.
  2. Grab the towel's center with your toes.
  3. Curl the towel toward your heels.
  4. Relax the foot to the initial position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of times.

Towel Stretch

A person doing towel stretch workouts

How to perform:

  1. Take a towel and wrap it around the foot. Extend the leg before you while sitting.
  2. Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your leg steady. You ought to be able to feel the calf muscles stretching.
  3. Hold this posture for 40 seconds, then take a break and repeat.
  4. This workout may be done 4 to 6 times daily.

Heel Raise

To avoid falling, perform this motion on the lower step of a staircase while holding onto a solid railing for support.

How to perform:

  1. Stand on the balls of the feet at the edge of the step, allowing your heels to protrude over it.
  2. Gently drop your heels just below the edge with calm, controlled motions, then slowly raise onto the balls of the legs.
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Picking up Marbles

A person picking up marbles with their feet

How to perform:

  1. Put marbles on the floor close to a coffee mug for a more difficult challenge.
  2. Grab the marbles with your toes, raise them off the floor, and put them into the cup.
  3. Continue until you've collected all of the marbles.
  4. This exercise can be done 2 to 3 times daily.

Floor Sitting Ankle Inversion With Resistance

How to perform:

  1. Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs extended. Tie a loose elastic workout band around the left foot.
  2. At the ankle, cross the left leg over the right one. Hold the end of the workout band in your palm and wrap it around your lower foot.
  3. Slowly rotate the left ankle inward, away from the other foot.
  4. Repeat 10 times. Complete two sets with the left foot before switching to your right.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

A person suffering from plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an illness that produces discomfort on the sole, particularly in the heel and arch areas.

"The plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the leg, supports the arch. People who engage in recurrent weight-bearing or impact sports for days, months, or years create chronic inflammation and microtears of the thick band of tissue that runs from the bottom of their heel bone to the foot's ball ."

- Jeff Moyer, Master of Science in Physical Therapy

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), an abnormally tight plantar fascia (the ligament that joins your heel and toes) is responsible for this heel pain [1].

Excessive strain on this ligament produces inflammation, small rips, and foot pain.

As NIH notes, strengthening and stretching the region causing you pain is one of the greatest methods to obtain relief from plantar fasciitis [2].

According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, loosening the plantar fascia may help to prevent tears, strengthen the muscles that support it (thus reducing stress on the ligament), and reduce inflammation [3].

Safety Consideration

A woman holding out the sole of her feet

I always tell my clients that these workouts should not give them any more discomfort.

If any of the plantar fasciitis activities cause them greater discomfort or pain, I always advise them to cease and consult their doctor.

You can ice your leg after stretching to aid with inflammation and pain and guarantee you get the maximum pain alleviation from these beneficial stretches.

Related: Worst Exercises to Avoid

Role of Nutrition in Managing Plantar Fasciitis

Diet and nutrition play a crucial role in managing plantar fasciitis. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods can significantly reduce symptoms.

  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseeds, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fruits and vegetables, particularly berries, spinach, and kale, are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that combat inflammation.
  • Adding turmeric and ginger to your diet can also offer relief due to their natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Conversely, reducing intake of inflammatory foods like processed items, sugars, and excessive red meat can aid in healing and alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis.


What Is the Fastest Way To Cure Plantar Fasciitis?

The fastest way to cure plantar fasciitis is through low-impact workouts and manual physical therapy concentrating on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon.

What Activities Should I Avoid With Plantar Fasciitis?

The activities you should avoid with plantar fasciitis are impact workouts like running or leaping and other exercises that cause heel pain.

What Triggers Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is frequently triggered by repeated motion or any activity that places a lot of strain on your foot's arch. Jogging, running, walking, and repeatedly extended durations of standing and being on the feet can all contribute to plantar fasciitis.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431073/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6960082/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6311243/
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About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
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Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
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Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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