Five Plantar Fasciitis Stretches

Here are five easy-to-follow basic stretches that will help relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.  We cannot emphasize enough that the stretches should be done very slowly and carefully without over-stretching.

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(1)  The Seated Foot Stretch


This is the most basic stretch of the calf and plantar fascia and we recommend all stretching programs should first start with this exercise.  Patients should do the Seated Foot Stretch exercise for several days before starting the more advanced stretches.

  • Begin by sitting on the floor, with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Loop a strap around the ball (at the front pad) of the injured foot and slowly pull the strap towards you, keeping your legs straight.
  • Pull until you feel a gentle stretch, then hold the position for approximately 30 seconds.  Breathe gently throughout.
  • Relax for thirty seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

We recommend patients use the Stretch Out Strap to perform this stretch.  It has special loops to allow for maximum control and ease of use.

(2)   The Wall Calf Stretch (Knee Straight and Bent)

The Standing Wall Calf Stretch allows for a greater stretch than the Seated Foot Stretch, but still allows the patient to control the amount of stretch.  This is particularly so when the stretch is performed using the Slant Board as the angle of stretching is fixed eliminating the risk of overstretching.  Do not begin performing this stretch until you have improved basic flexibility performing the Seated Foot Stretch.

  • Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at head height.
  • Extend one leg backwards, bending the front knee.  Make sure both feet stay flat on the ground (i.e. don’t let your heels rise up).
  • Lean towards the wall, allowing the front knee to bend until a gentle stretch is felt in the back leg behind the knee.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Rest for thirty seconds, then repeat 3-5 times.

We recommend using the Slant Board to stretch the calf and Achilles tendon since it allows for complete control.  The angle of the board can be adjusted as your flexibility increases, preventing any over-stretching injury and showing you clearly the improvements in your flexibility.

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(3)  The Standing Calf Stretch


Stand on a step on the balls of your feet. Be sure to hold on to the stair rail or a wall for balance.This is the most advanced stretching exercise for the calf and Achilles tendon.  It is harder to control than the previous two therefore extra care should be taken not to overstretch.

  • Slowly lower your heel over the edge of the step until you feel a gentle stretch in your foot and in your calf muscle.
  • Hold in a nice easy stretch for 30 seconds.  Repeat with the other foot.
  • Rest for thirty seconds, then repeat 3-5 times.
  • As your flexibility and control improves, you will be able to progress to stretching both feet at once.

For greater control and a deeper more effective stretch, use the ProStretch (either the single foot or dual foot versions) stretching device.

What we like about this device is that is designed to direct body weight to the special heel cup, dispersing this weight in a natural way, rather than it being focused on the ball of the foot (and putting excessive pressure on the metatarsal toe bones).

A recent University of Colorado study reported that the ProStretch stretches the heel more effectively by preventing misalignment that is often a problem with stair stretching.

(4)  Plantar Fascia Massage

This exercise involves rolling the arch of the foot over a massage ball while either standing (holding a wall or chair for support) or sitting.  Allow the foot and ankle full movement in all directions while rolling over the massage ball.  This massage both stretches the muscles along the sole of the foot and relieves tension.

  • Place the massage ball under the arch of the foot and slowly roll up and down.  Pause and
  • focus on any areas of particular tension.
  • You should roll for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with other foot.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Once a decent level of calf and foot flexibility has been achieved following the stretching exercises described above, the foot should be strengthened.  Strengthening the muscles along the sole of the foot will help them become more flexible and more able to withstand the stresses caused by bearing body weight.

(5)  Plantar Fascia Strengthening

Use the Archxerciser Foot Strengthening Device to strengthen the muscles along the sole of the foot without having to put excessive pressure onto the injured fascia.  The toes of the foot are used to pull the lightly sprung lever towards the heel.

This light resistance exercise pinpoints the intrinsic and extrinsic foot musculature of the sole of the foot helping to gradually strengthen the muscles damaged by plantar fasciitis.

We don’t know of any other product specifically designed to strengthen the arches of the foot.

Continue to Plantar Exercises.

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