3 Foot Exercises to Relieve Tension From Plantar Fasciitis

Written by: Celina Caovan, Exercise Specialist at Coury and Buehler Physical Therapy

Model: Corinne Sun

When dealing with plantar fasciitis, do you experience more pain than usual in your foot during the first few steps in the morning or after you’ve been sitting for a while? 

This is a common symptom of plantar fasciitis because muscles in the foot and calf can get tight overnight or when you’re off your feet for long period of time, causing additional pain in the heel when putting weight on it. It may feel like you’re literally getting off on the wrong foot in the morning

To start your day on a better note, you can reduce the pain and tension in your plantar fascia with the following exercises:


1.Foot Rubs with a Ball



Before getting out of bed and walking, this is a great exercise to do first thing in the morning to improve the mobility of your plantar fascia. 

How to do it:

  1. Place a golf ball, tennis ball, or Foot Rubz massage ball [pictured] under your bare foot. 
  2. Roll the ball slowly back and forth from your heel to your toes.
  3. If there are areas with more tension, spend extra time on those parts and apply more pressure if tolerable.
  4. Massage the bottom of your foot for 1 to 2 minutes.


2. Foot Rubs with a Frozen Water Bottle

After a long day of standing or walking, your foot can become inflamed and irritated. This exercise will assist in reducing inflammation and tension with a combination of ice and rolling out.

How to do it:

  1. Place a frozen water bottle flat under your foot.
  2. Roll your foot back and forth on top of the water bottle.
  3. Focus on tender areas for 1 to 2 minutes.

Tip: A frozen golf ball can also be used for this exercise


3. Toe Flexor Stretch

Two variations of this stretch will help relieve tightness in your plantar fascia, especially if it has been stuck in a shoe all day!


How to do it:

  1. Support yourself by placing your hands on a wall or table.
  2. Place one leg in front of the other with the affected foot being in the back.
  3. Keeping all toes flat on the ground with your back foot, lift up your heel until a stretch is felt.
  4. Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds; Repeat 2 to 3 times.



How do to it:

  1. While sitting, cross your affected foot over your opposite leg.
  2. Use your hand to pull all your toes straight towards your knee until a stretch is felt. 
  3. Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds; Repeat 2 to 3 times.

Start every morning on the right foot by regularly rolling out and stretching your toes! These exercises will assist in releasing foot tension to make each day with plantar fasciitis just a little easier. 

In addition, you can decrease the tension in your plantar fascia by addressing the tightness in your calves with stretches, which you can learn by reading, "3 Convenient Calf Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis." I highly recommend to combine these stretches with the foot rubs and toe flexor stretch. These stretches and exercises can be done first thing in the morning and throughout the day. 

As an important reminder, these exercises alone do not replace or constitute as professional treatment for plantar fasciitis. Please see a physical therapist if symptoms are severe.