Plantar Fasciitis: The Top 3 Stretches to Heal Your Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is a really common condition affecting an estimated 2 million people in the U.S.! The plantar fascia is an important structure in your foot, as it helps support the arch of the foot and absorbs energy during weight bearing activities. Typically, plantar fasciitis is seen in athletes due to over training or people with jobs that require them to be on their feet most of the day. However,  here are some factors that increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis:

  • age greater than 40
  • rapid increase in activity
  • body mass index (BMI) greater than 30
  • poor lower leg flexibility (remember those tight calves?)

The most frequently reported symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot, most commonly on the heel, but occasionally of the arch itself. The classic red flag for plantar fasciitis is heel pain when you first get out of bed in the morning that gets better throughout the day as you’re up and moving.

If you are experiencing heel pain, seeing a Physical Therapist is an ideal way to improve your symptoms and prevent their return. Your physical therapist will help you reduce pain through treatment methods like:

  • manual (hands on) therapy
  • home exercise program
  • taping
  • ice/heat
  • discussing orthotic devices

They’ll work with you to improve the joint mobility of your ankle, strength of the muscles supporting your foot, and flexibility of your lower leg and plantar fascia. Below are some stretches that your provider might typically prescribe for your home exercise program. All stretches should be held for a minimum of 30 sec and repeated 3-4 times per session.

Gastroc/Soleus Stretch

Stand at a wall or counter, one foot is behind you with the toe pointed straight ahead. Step forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. You can try this stretch with your knee straight to stretch the gastroc muscle and with your knee bent to stretch the soleus muscle.


Plantar Stretch

Start on a small step with the ball of your (R/L) foot on the edge of the step. Let your heel drop off the back of the step. You should feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot and maybe into your Achilles tendon.


Sitting Towel Stretch

Sit with your R/L leg flat on the table. Place a towel or rolled up bed sheet around the ball of your foot. While holding on to the towel pull toward your body.



If you’re experiencing pain in your foot, ankle, lower leg, or elsewhere, Body One Physical Therapy is ready to help get you moving and feeling better. We’re locally owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Meridian, Fishers, and Zionsville. We know that plantar fasciitis can make something as simple as walking painful, so if you’re ready to get back on your feet, we’re here. Call  or click today!