Gentle stretching for plantar fasciitis
If you have plantar fasciitis pain, you’re likely reminded of it every time you get out of bed in the morning. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel to the toes and supports the arch of your foot, acting as a shock absorber when you put pressure on your foot.
Plantar fasciitis discomfort occurs at the bottom of your foot, typically near the heel bone. It can range from a dull sensation to piercing pain. Often, it comes on gradually and affects only one foot, though it can start suddenly and affect both feet. The discomfort is usually worse in the morning.
Stretching or strengthening exercises are effective ways to promote plantar fasciitis healing. Below are common exercises that may help. Perform each exercise two to four times a day until pain improves.
- With your leg outstretched, wrap a towel or strap around the forefoot and gently pull both ends, keeping the knee straight. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times.
- Gently pull back on your toes so that you can feel the taut fascia at the bottom of your foot. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and massage the fascia with your free hand in a back-and-forth motion. Repeat two to three times.
- Spread a towel on the floor and use your toes to crunch the towel and pull it underfoot. Repeat two to three times.
- Roll a soup can, tennis ball or frozen water bottle under your foot for up to 15 minutes.
If the soreness of your foot isn’t improving after a couple of weeks of basic self-care, talk to your doctor to confirm a diagnosis. Referral to a physical therapist can ensure proper guidance with self-care steps.
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