Physical therapy exercises for plantar fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is where you have pain on the bottom of your foot.  Generally, it is a very painful first step in the morning.  The pain can extend from the heel to the toes.  But the pain with plantar fasciitis is only on the bottom of the foot.  If you have pain in the calf or the top of the foot, this is not plantar fasciitis.

How do you get plantar fasciitis?

This is a common question.  Asked another way, “What can I do not to get plantar fasciitis?”  There is no guarantee that you will not get plantar fasciitis.  But when you feel the pain start on the bottom of your foot, one of the most important things you can do is watch your footwear.  Bare feet and flip flops cause pain and plantar fasciitis because there is not support for the bottom of the foot.  This will cause inflammation and therefore plantar fasciitis.

If you are in treatment for plantar fasciitis or treating yourself and you do not change your footwear, meaning wear sneakers or walking shoes, you will not be able to get better.  Every step you will constantly irritate your plantar fascia.  With a supportive shoe, like a walking shoe or a running shoe, the arch can be supported and take the pressure off the plantar fascia.

One of the contributing factors in how you get plantar fascia is improper footwear.  If you do not change your footwear, you cannot change the irritation to the plantar fascia.  You must change how you got plantar fascia in the first place before you can eliminate it.

Should I do heat or ice?

Ice.  When you have pain on the bottom of your foot it is important to ice your foot at least once a day for 15 minutes.  You can fill up a plastic water bottle or soda bottle with water, freeze it, and then run it underneath your foot.

What are some physical therapy exercises for plantar fasciitis?

One of the first thing you can do is self-massage.  In our clinic we use a beastie ball.  It is a smaller ball with spikes in it.  People use a golf ball and that can be effective too but it is more important that you have spikes in it so you can get into the plantar fascia, into the heel and in between the toes.

You want to do self-massage, 2-3 times a day about 5 minutes.  You can also use your hands to do this but it much easier to use a ball when you are sitting there watching TV or sitting there at your desk.

The second exercise is a stretch for the bottom of the foot.  You will feel this in the plantar fascia.  You can see this exercise by watching the video.  You want to do this in standing.  Find a wall.  You want to place your toes up against the wall.  Then slide your foot down the wall so that your toes are straight up in the air and the ball of the foot is up against the wall.

Slide the foot down the wall until you feel a good stretch.  Stop when you feel pain.  You want to hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it 6 times.

The final exercise is a stretch for the calf.  Again, this is shown in the video.  Start in the lunge position with the affect leg in the back.  Keeping both feet flat on the floor, you want to lunge into the knee in front.  It is important that the back foot stay flat on the floor and the toes point forward.  Stop lunging forward when you feel a good stretch.  Do not go to wear you feel pain.  Again, you want to hold this 30 seconds and repeat this 6 times.

You can also do this stretch by putting your toes on a step and then dropping your heel down.  Again, you want to do this stretch 6 times for 30 second hold.

If you are experiencing plantar fascia pain in Hatfield or plantar fascia in Harleysville or plantar fascia in North Wales and you want to come in and have a free consultation with one of our doctors of physical therapy, all you have to do is give us a call, (215) 997-9898 and we\’d be happy to get you in.


We’re Hiring!
We Have an Immediate Opening for a Physical Therapist in Harleysville. Resumes Can Be Sent to

Scroll to Top