Just because you have plantar fasciitis does not mean that you should stop making an effort to work out. In fact, exercises that stretch both your plantar fascia and calves are helpful in relieving pain caused by the condition.1
Here are five plantar fasciitis exercises recommended by Lulu Peelle, a yoga therapist and Ayurvedic counselor.2
Stretching and elongating your calf muscles are the primary objectives of this move. To do this, stand about an arm’s length from the wall. Step forward with your left leg and then step backward with your right. Bend your left knee and press down with your right heel. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch legs.
Tennis Ball Massage
The rolling motion in this tennis ball massage helps loosen up your plantar fascia, potentially reducing irritation.3 While sitting down,4 place a tennis, lacrosse or golf ball beneath the bottom of your left foot. Peelle suggests doing this exercise on a soft surface such as a yoga mat, carpet or rug, as hardwood surfaces will make the ball slide.5
Gently roll the ball beneath your foot, backward and forward. Once you locate a tender spot, stop and flex your toes upward and downward. Continue rolling the ball for about a minute or two. Repeat on the other foot. You can also do this tennis ball massage while standing up, but make sure you can fully support yourself first.6
Picking Up a Sock or Towel Using Your Toes
Tone your plantar fascia and develop arch strength by doing this simple exercise any time of the day. Simply curl your toes around a washcloth, towel or sock, pick it up and then release the item.7
Seated Calf Stretch
Peelle’s version of a Seated Calf Stretch involves lifting and straightening your leg, pointing your toes forward just like a ballerina, flexing and keeping them as wide apart as possible. Repeat this step for a couple more times.8
After this, move your ankle in circles and points and flexes your toes while doing a circular motion. This allows the ankles to remain strong and provides support for your feet.9
However, if you want to take it up a notch, you can do this Ankle Flexion exercise from ACE Fitness. Although the movement comes from your ankle, this exercise targets your calves and shins. It’s similar to the seated calf stretch, although it uses resistance bands or cables:10
1. Start by sitting with one leg stretched in front of you. Secure a cable or resistance band around the ball of the outstretched foot. This resistance should pull the bottom of your foot away from you.
2. Start with your toes pointed away from your body and slowly pull them towards your shin. Go back to the starting position slowly, and with control repeat the first step.
Avoid bending or over straightening the knee during this exercise, and make sure to keep your foot aligned and facing forward. Try your best to sit upright and prevent excessive arching or slouching on your lower back.11
You can do this belt stretch when sitting down or even in bed. Take a belt, towel or yoga strap and place it under the ball of your foot.12
Slowly pull the belt towards you and make sure the toes come towards your body. Try to continuously release and stretch your foot because this extends your plantar fascia. Hold this position for around 15 to 30 seconds to feel the stretch in your calf and relax your shoulders, neck and jaw. Release the foot back to the starting position, repeat the move for two to four times and then change sides.13,14