Exercises that help relieve heel pain from plantar fasciitis
exercises may make your heel pain worse. One example is exercise that involves
repeated motions and pounding of the foot against a hard surface such as
running or jogging. You should avoid this type of exercise.
Any exercise is good for a person who has plantar
Not all exercise is good for a person who has
plantar fasciitis. Some activities, such as running and jogging, make heel pain
worse by causing more injury from both the pounding on the heel and the
repeated motion. Other activities, such as stretching and strengthening
exercises for the foot and leg, can reduce or prevent heel pain.
Continue to Why?
People who have plantar fasciitis may have less flexible feet and
ankles, and weaker foot muscles. Their feet may tend to flatten and roll inward
(pronate) more when they walk or run.
Exercises can protect the
plantar fascia from injury and inflammation by making the plantar fascia and
calf muscles more flexible and by strengthening the foot and ankle muscles that
support the arch.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can reduce or
prevent heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can
reduce or prevent heel pain, because they make the plantar fascia and Achilles
tendon more flexible and strengthen the muscles around the arch, all of which
protects the plantar fascia from injury and inflammation.
Continue to How?
Many people with plantar fasciitis have intense heel
pain in the morning, when they take their first steps after getting out of bed. This
pain comes from the tightening of the plantar fascia that occurs during sleep.
Stretching or massaging the plantar fascia before standing up can often reduce
Other steps can help reduce heel pain when you take your
first steps after getting out of bed. You can:
Stretching exercises should create a pulling
feeling. They should not cause pain. Ask your physical therapist or doctor which
exercises will work best for you.
Stretching and strengthening exercises will help reduce plantar
It's best to do each exercise 2 or 3
times a day, but you do not need to do them all at once.1
Doing stretching exercises in bed before getting up in
the morning can reduce or relieve heel pain that often occurs during the first
steps after rising.
Stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles
by flexing your foot up and down 10 times before getting out of bed can reduce
heel pain that occurs when you take your first steps after rising.
Continue to Where?
For more information about exercises to reduce heel
pain from plantar fasciitis, talk to:
If you would like more information on exercises to reduce
plantar fasciitis, the following groups can provide information:
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
provides information and education to raise the public's awareness of
musculoskeletal conditions, with an emphasis on preventive measures. The AAOS
website contains information on orthopedic conditions and treatments, injury
prevention, and wellness and exercise.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons provides
information on surgery and shoe selection as well as the care and treatment of
heel, toe, ankle, nerve, tendon, nail, and skin conditions. You can also look up and learn about sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, arthritis, and resources in your local area.
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS)
provides information on a variety of topics, including foot care for adults,
children, and people who have diabetes; proper shoe fit; and how to select
children's shoes and sports shoes. Some information is available in several
languages besides English.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
provides information about foot and ankle injuries, sports-related foot
concerns, surgical and nonsurgical treatment of foot problems, special medical
issues such as diabetes, and resources in your local area. Some information is
available in Spanish.
Return to topic:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Plantar fasciitis. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 839–844. Rosemont, IL: American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Other Works Consulted
Digiovanni BF, et al. (2006). Plantar fascia-specific stretching exercise improves outcomes in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis. A prospective clinical trial with two-year follow-up. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 88(6): 1775–1781.
Pasquina PF, Foster LS (2008). Plantar fasciitis. In WR Frontera et al., eds., Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation, 2nd ed., pp. 469–473. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
July 9, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
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