Plantar Fasciitis Exercises

Plantar Fasciitis exercises aim to strengthen and stretch the foot, ankle and calf muscles.  When done correctly, they help to reduce plantar fasciitis pain and inflammation. 

The most common symptoms of the condition are pain underneath the foot, especially around the heel.  It is usually worst first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, eases of as you walk around and then returns after you have been on your feet for a while.

It is important to do a combination of strengthening and stretching plantar fasciitis exercises both in order to treat the condition and to prevent it coming back in the future. 

Here, we will look at the best strengthening exercises for plantar fasciitis.  They help to improve the strength, control, co-ordination and balance around the foot.  If you haven’t already do so, do also take a look at the Stretching Exercises and Top 10 Treatments for plantar fasciitis sections.

Strength Plantar Fasciitis Exercises

1)  Towel Scrunches

This is one of my favourite plantar fasciitis exercises.  It helps to strengthen the intrinsic muscles which support the foot arches.  Easy to do while you sit and watch TV

Towel scrunches are my favourite of the plantar fasciitis exercises.  Approved use by

Starting Position: Lay a towel out on the floor and sit with your foot resting on towel, flat on the floor

Try and draw the towel towards you by scrunching your toes. Keep the heel in contact with the floor throughout

Spend 1-2 minutes doing this

Top Tips:
You can still do this exercise without a towel, just mimic the action

2)  Marble Pick-Ups

This is another fun one of the plantar fasciitis exercises.  It helps to improve the strength and control around the foot

Picking up marbles with your toes is a fun plantar fasciitis exercise.  Approved use by

Starting Position: Place some marbles and a bowl on the floor

Pick each marble up with your toes and place it in the bowel

Spend 1-2 minutes doing this, twice a day

You can use any small items e.g. dice or pencil instead

3)  Arch Lifts

This is a good plantar fasciitis exercise to start with as it specifically targets the muscles underneath the foot that support the foot arches.  Weakness here is a common cause of plantar fasciitis

Arch lifts are great plantar fasciitis exercises.  Approved use

Starting Position: Sit on a chair with your foot resting flat on the floor

Draw the arch of the foot up off the floor, keeping the heel, big toe and ball of the foot on the floor.  Hold for 3 seconds and relax

Spend about 1 minute doing this

Perform the exercise in standing

Top Tips:
  It may take a few goes to work out how to get your foot doing this action correctly.  You can place a coin underneath the base of your big toe and ensure that you keep resting on throughout for extra feedback.  It won’t feel like you are doing much, but it really makes a difference

4)  Heel Raises

Weakness in the calf muscles is a common cause of plantar fasciitis as it affects how the foot moves. This is just one way to strengthen the calf muscles – visit the calf strengthening section for a wider range of exercises

Strengthening the calf muscles helps to reduce plantar fasciitis pain.  Approved use by

Starting Position: Stand with your feet resting flat on the floor.  You can hold onto a chair or the wall for balance if needed

Push up, lifting your heels of the floor as you come up onto tiptoes.  Hold for 3-5 seconds and slowly lower down

Repetition: Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Top Tips: Try to take your weight equally on both feet.  If that is too difficult to start with, let your good foot do more of the work and gradually progress to equal work as able.

Progression: Once you can do 30 repetitions, try doing one leg at a time

5)  Tip Toe Walking

This is a simple but effective way to improve the strength of your calf and improve the control and stability around the ankle as part of your plantar fasciitis exercises

Tip toe walking is a really simple strengthening plantar fasciitis exercise.  Approved use by

Starting Position: Standing

Rise up onto both tip toes and walk around, staying up throughout. 

Spend a couple of minutes doing this every day

Walk forwards, backwards, sideways and in circles

6)  Single Leg Standing

This is a great way to improve your balance and the control around the foot making it a great plantar fasciitis exercises

Single Leg Standing Exercise to improve balance.  Approved use by

Starting Position: Standing

Lift one foot off the floor so you are balancing on one leg

Spend 5 minutes doing this, 2x daily. 

Once you feel confident with this exercise, try closing your eyes – you should find it a lot more challenging

Top Tips:
Build this into part of your daily routine by doing it e.g. when brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil etc.

What Else Can Help?

To get the most benefit from plantar fasciitis exercises, it is essential to be stretching as well as strengthening the muscles – find out more about how to effectively stretch in the plantar fasciitis stretches section.  You will need to do exercises for a good few weeks and should continue until your symptoms have completely settled, otherwise the problem is likely to return.

Plantar fasciitis exercises are only one part of treatment, there are lots of other things that can help.  You can find out more in the Top 10 Plantar Fasciitis Treatments section including information on orthotics/shoe inserts, night splints, injections, ice and more.

If you have more questions such as what is plantar fasciitis, what are the symptoms and how to prevent it, visit the plantar fasciitis overview

Go to Plantar Fasciitis Treatment or Exercise Guide

New! Comments

Share your foot pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had, questions etc.......

See Also

Common Causes of Foot Pain

Diagnose Your Pain

Foot & Ankle Anatomy

Treatment Options for Foot Problems

Top 10 Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Visitor Comments

"Thank you so much! Your website is a fountain of information! I was worrying about top of foot pain, and your suggestions for strengthening and stretching are helping immensely."
Retha, US

"Your info took me straight to the problem. Well described and clearly explained."
Rick, US

"Thanks for having these exercises available! I performed a few and they have helped tremendously with my foot pain."
Jennifer, UK

"Thank you for this information, it is very useful."
Seluleko, Zimbabwe

"Some really good suggestions and information"
Denise, US

"I have suffered these symptoms for over a year seen two doctors and a physio. None of them diagnosed this. Hope its not too late to put your advice into practice." Lezlee, UK

"Certainly it has helped me to understand and educate me on the issue."
Madhuri, India

"Very interesting! All good information. Tried a few stretches, already feels good."
Cindy, US