Five exercises for plantar fasciitis, beat it once and for all

In practise we diagnose and prescribe exercises for plantar fasciitis several times a week, its common and its a real pain in the foot! I've had people come to me who have had plantar fasciitis sometimes on and off for years. 

The thing about plantar fasciitis in my opinion is that even once the pain has gone, quite often condition may remain - a stage of pathology we call subclinical.

These exercises for plantar fasciitis work because, if carried out correctly (and patiently), they can be enough to resolve it completely without any chance of future flare ups.

Now, if you have had this condition for a long time it might sound like this is sort of miracle cure.

Well its not. By using the OFC algorithim for a pain free body (strengthening. stretching, stability and mobility), we know we can resolve your plantar fasciitis.

How do we know?

Because we do it all the time!

Follow the exercises in this video or scroll on for a more detailed overview.

Things to consider alongside these exercises

The factors which manifest plantar fasciitis are numerous and complex and exercising your way out of pain is only one aspect. You also need to consider the following:

Rest: While exercises is good, so is rest. Try to avoid anything which aggravates your foot symptoms.

Footwear: Your shoes can play a major role in the development of plantar fasciitis, try to recognise any shoes which appear to worsen your symptoms. High heels for example are usually to be avoided.

Orthotics: While we don't usually prescribe orthotics, favouring utilisation of the body's self healing mechanism and rehabilitation instead. However in some cases they may be required.

Weight loss: Carrying excess weight is a HUGE factor in plantar fasciitis - if your pain is not resolving it may be time to get some workout inspiration and shed a few pounds.

Pain medications: Speak to you doctor or pharmacist if you feel that pain medication may be required.

6 months on: If you've tried all of the above and given the exercises on this page a good try then it may be time to revisit the gp for possible cortico-steroid injections. Failing that you may need surgery.

Beginner exercises for plantar fasciitis

If your plantar fasciitis is fairly new, and at the moment not too severe, you may find that it will go with a light application of these simple exercises.

Calf stretch

Fascia, is a fundamental component of your soft tissues and runs all the way through it various directions and serves various functions. Plantar fascia, or the fascia on the bottom of your foot, connects to the soft tissues on the back of your lower leg, predominately you achilles tendon and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus).

Tension in the calf muscles not only alters the ankle and foot biomechanics but also influences your plantar fascia. Stretching the calf muscles are therefore obviously important. Use the calf stretch shown in the image below and hold for solid 12-15 seconds for a nice long and deep stretch.

The ice bottle roll

Fill a plastic bottle 80% full of water and stick in the freezer. This frozen bottle is now your best friend as this is one of the most effective exercises for plantar fasciitis. On a regular basis (several times per day) roll your foot with some pressure over the bottle backwards and forwards. It might be a little sore when your doing it, in fact it should be, however you may find you even get immediate pain relief afterwards.

Keep doing this exercise for plantar fasciitis for as long as it takes to resolve the pain and then even for another week afterwards. Each time you get your bottle out you should be looking to be rolling it for between 5-10 minutes, although longer is fine as long as you symptoms don't become worse.

The golf ball

One of the most well known exercises for plantar fasciitis is the gold ball roll. Similiar to the exercise above with the ice bottle, the gold bottle provides a much more targeted approach. Roll the ball around the heel and ball of your foot, again for 5-10 minutes at a time, several times per day.

Instead of using a gold ball there are other alternatives like the ones on this page

Advanced exercises for plantar fasciitis

If you have tried the exercises above for 2 weeks with limited success or indeed you had success and you symptoms have returned, then you need move onto these more advanced exercises.

These exercises look more at the mobility, stability and strength of your foot, ankle and lower leg

Ankle mobility exercises

Restrictions in the function of you foot and ankle joints will cause dysfunction. There is a high chance this biomechanical dysfunction is contributing to your pain.

Try taking your foot and ankle through out our full range of ankle mobility exercises. While not specific to plantar fasciitis, addressing your ankle mobility and biomechanics is key to making a meaningful and lasting change as well as preventing any relapse of your plantar fasciitis.

Foot and ankle strengthening exercises

Making sure your foot has the strength it needs on a daily basis is a large part of rehabbing plantar fasciitis.

These muscles include many of the muscle in the foot itself but also in the lower leg, especially the gastrocnemius, soleus (calf muscles) and tibialis anterior (shin muscles).

The ankle strengthening exercises on this page are ideal for this task.

ankle strengthening for plantar fasciitis, eversionankle strengthening for plantar fasciitis, eversion using a theraband

If you need a theraband you can buy them here.

Further resources

The information and exercises for plantar fasciitis on this page are supported by the latest understanding and treatment protocols, as indicated in the NICE guidelines.

AUTHORS AND CREATORS

This page was written and composed by experts in their fields;

OLIVER WAKEFIELD M.ost
REGISTERED OSTEOPATH

Oliver is a registered Osteopath in the UK with a particular interest in sports and rehabilitation - he practises in Devon, Southwest England.

LOUISE PRATLEY M.ost
REGISTERED OSTEOPATH

Louise is a registered Osteopath, fitness model and enthusiast as well as a business and social influencer. She also practises as an Osteopath in Devon, UK.

Oliver and Louise specialise in helping people get over their pain and get back to living the lives they want to be living - follow this link to find out more about us.

We welcome any one who wants to get in touch with us here at the OFC for any reason - please use the form on our contact us page.


All the information and advice in this website should be followed with common sense and expert help - follow this link for our full disclaimer.

We hope you enjoyed this page about plantar fasciitis, go plantar fasciitis treatment for more information, advice and guidance on how to treat your heel pain.