Plantar Fasciitis Exercises for Runners


Have you ever experienced pain in the lower part your foot near the heel and back of the arch? Does it feel the worst in the mornings as soon as you wake up? And does it bother you after going for a run?

You’ve probably got planter fasciitis, the primary cause of heel pain for runners.

There is a band of tissue that connects your heels to your toes. It can become inflamed causing the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can be incredibly frustrating to cure. Even when you think it’s gone, it can suddenly flare back up again.

Many runners swear by inserts to support the arch. While this can ease the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, it ultimately makes it worse. The inflamed band in your foot needs to get stronger to prevent plantar pain. Inserts in the long run end up weakening that band instead.

A better option is to use a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises to help your feet recover.

Stretches to relieve plantar fasciitis pain

Stretching helps to alleviate the pain that comes from plantar fasciitis. Here are several stretching exercises to try….

Calf Stretch

Tight calves can aggravate plantar fasciitis. Try this stretching exercise to loosen up your calves.

Stand about 2-3 feet from a wall. Put your your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward. Keep your right heel on the ground and your right knee straight. Feel the stretch in your calves.

Do this three times, you should hold the stretch for about 15 to 30 seconds and release.

Reverse legs and repeat.

Plantar Fascia Stretches

These stretches involve sitting on a bench and stretching the plantar tendon. Make sure you are seated upright and on a sturdy surface when doing these stretches.

1. The first stretch requires a frozen can or water bottle. Place the water bottle on the floor. While seated, put your foot over the water bottle. Gently massage your foot by rolling it back and forth over the water bottle from the heel to your arch. Repeat on the other foot.

2. The next stretch is to cross your right leg over the left leg. Then grab you big toe and pull it gently towards you. Hold that for 20 to 40 seconds. Do this three times before switching to the other foot.

3. The final stretch requires an exercise strap. A simple way to do this is by folding a towel lengthwise. While seated, position the folded towel under the arches of your both feet. Then using your both hands grabs the end of the towel and gently pull the tops of your feet towards you. Hold for about 15 to 35 seconds and repeat three times.

Check out this video for more stretches:

Exercising to reduce plantar fasciitis pain

As a runner, it’s very difficult when plantar fasciitis pain keeps you from running. The stretches above will help. Sometimes a new pair of running shoes with lots of heel cushioning can help.

Low-impact exercises like swimming might help in reducing plantar fasciitis pain. Just keep in mind that when working out, you should warm up exercise beforehand to ensure the plantar ligament is as loose as possible.

Other Advice

1. Before getting out of bed, softly touch your feet near the plantar ligament to reduce the heel pain.

2. When you wake up in the morning, put on comfortable shoes. Having good arch support is important to your feet.

3. Wear a night splint or Strassburg Sock when you go to sleep. This keeps your foot at a right-angle allowing for a constant stretch

Plantar pain is extremely discouraging to runners. However, activities like toe stretch, calf stretch, swimming exercises and foot massages in the morning will help to reduce and prevent plantar fasciitis.


Healthline. (2018). Plantar Fasciitis Stretches to Soothe Heel Pain. Available at:

WebMD. Available at:

Katie Mena, M. (2018). Heel Pain: Exercises to Help with Plantar Fasciitis. [online] Medical News Today. Available at:

Anon, (2018). [online] Available at: › Sports Injuries › Foot & Heel › Heel › Plantar Fasciitis.

Photo of author


Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.