7 Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain Relief)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 28, 2023
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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 help reduce plantar fasciitis discomfort by stretching the calves and plantar fascia. Both sitting and standing activities may be beneficial.
  • Plantar fasciitis may affect people of all skill levels and ages, although it is more frequent among athletes and people spending many hours on their feet.

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 maintaining 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

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.

Strengthening and stretching the region causing you pain is one of the greatest methods to obtain relief from plantar fasciitis [2].

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

These workouts should not give you any more discomfort if you have plantar fasciitis.

If any of the plantar fasciitis activities cause you greater discomfort or pain, you should cease and consult your 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


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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