How To Deal, Heal, And Workout With Plantar Fasciitis

Fitness, Training Advice, Training Tips, Lifestyle, Healthy Living

By: // October 10, 2018

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You step out of bed and your foot hurts. You don’t remember injuring yourself and since it feels better the more you walk around, you assume it’s a fluke.

The next morning there it is again. “Strange,” you think. “I’m sure it will go away,” but it persists.

Gradually it hurts more. But still, it feels better when you move around on it so it can’t be bad, right? Wrong.

You have plantar fasciitis (“plan-tur-fash-ee-eye-tis”), a common foot injury and a fairly easy one to fix if you act early. Which is the very first tip: do not wait to treat this injury.

The longer you wait, the worse it gets and the longer it will take to heal. So what is this strangely named problem and just what should you do about it?

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Diagram of foot muscles and bones pointing out the Plantar Fascia


The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to the base of your toes. It acts like a shock absorber supporting the arch in your foot.

If tension on the fascia is overloaded, tiny tears are produced resulting in irritation, inflammation and pain. The pain might feel like a stabbing sensation in the heel or arch of the foot, or it might feel more like deep aching or throbbing.

Most people feel this pain when getting out of bed in the morning. The pain generally subsides as the foot gets warmed up and moving.

This is because the fascia is contracted at night almost as if it tries to heal itself. When you step on it getting out of bed, a sudden strain occurs all over again.

Reasons and Risks

Woman's foot with plantar fasciitis pain holding it between hands

Many things can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis including a sudden and big increase in running mileage, working out, walking or standing on hard surfaces, poor foot structure (too flat or too arched), worn out or improperly fitting shoes, or even going barefoot and wearing flip-flops.

The biggest contributors to this annoying problem including:

Plantar fasciitis can occur at any age, but is most common between 40-60.

Certain Exercises
Running, dance aerobics, ballet, or any exercise that put more pressure on the heel will contribute to the strain.

Lack of stretching
Chronically tight hamstrings, calves, low back, or Achilles tendons will pull the fascia tighter making for more tears.

Foot mechanics
Overpronation, or having your foot roll in, is the most common mechanical contributor but any type of odd gait or stride may also play a role.

Obesity or being overweight
Unfortunately, it’s just a fact: the heavier you are, the more stress put on your plantar fascia.

Bad footwear
Wearing improperly fitting or unsupportive footwear can cause major problems for our feet, notably plantar fasciitis.

The more use your require of your foot, the more likely you are to develop plantar fasciitis. In fact, studies show that you’re 3.6 times more likely to develop the condition if you spend the majority of the day on your feet.

Related: 7 Common Foot Injuries and How To Treat Them

Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

Whatever the cause, one thing is for sure: you want this thing fixed! It’s annoying and persistent.

The good news is that, when treated early, most people resolve their pain with conservative treatments within six weeks. The complicated part is that no one treatment works for every person.

Sometimes you have to try a few to figure out what works for you. However, there are tried and true things that need to be utilized whether trying to solve plantar fasciitis or better yet – trying to avoid it!

Here they are:

Stretch, stretch, stretch

Leg outstretched pulling on foot with resistance band

Your lower legs, calves, ankles and feet need to be stretched daily if not several times a day.

Stand at a doorframe holding the edges, place your heel on the floor close to the frame and the ball of your foot up against the frame.

Pulling gently with your hands, slightly bend your knee and press your foot into the doorframe while leaning forward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.

Another great stretch is to sit down with your legs stretched out in front of you and a towel or resistance band wrapped around your foot.

Gently pull back on the towel/resistance band and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

Remember to stretch both feet, even if one is not injured. Prevention is easier than resolution!


Just like with other injuries, the inflammation of plantar fasciitis can be helped with ice.

The best way to do this is to use a frozen water bottle and roll it back and forth under your foot for about 10 minutes, several times a day.

Do it at meals, under your desk while you work or even at night when you watch TV. Be consistent.


No, you don’t have to pay for it. While you are sitting, roll a tennis ball around under your foot to massage the area.

It works like a foam roller for your foot. Of course, the frozen water bottle also serves this purpose.


Over the counter anti-inflammatories can help. Ibuprofen or Naproxin are good bets to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Rest up

Your feet need time off from whatever is causing the issue. Stop or cut way back on whatever the offending exercise is.

Read on because below is a list of alternative exercises that might just do the trick until you feel better.

A Woman Resting On The Couch From Plantar Fasciitis

Get new shoes

What a great prescription, huh? Most people wear their workout shoes for far too long before replacing.

Remember that the plantar fascia muscle, which runs along the bottom of your foot, helps support the arch of your foot.

So it makes sense that if you do not wear shoes with proper support you are putting extra wear and tear on that fascia. This leads to the muscle being strained and small tears can be created.

Also, many find relief by wearing supportive shoes or shoe inserts (more on that below) very regularly. Keeping shoes on as much as possible allows the fascia to heal more quickly and maintain support.

Shoe Inserts For Plantar Fasciitis

Womans legs from knee down standing on wood floor next to blue shoe inserts

Cheap or improper shoes can be one of the causes of plantar fasciitis, but before you go buying brand new shoes, you may also consider shoe inserts. Inserts last longer and can be moved from shoe to shoe as needed.

At one time you had to spend hundreds of dollars at a foot doctor or physical therapist in order to get good, quality custom-made orthotics.

Now there are literally hundreds of options for inserts online or at any number of footwear stores with a very wide price range.

Just keep in mind that price can often—though not completely—reflect quality. Try to choose based on other reasons.

So how do you filter through all the choices and select the right pair for you? Here are some tips!

How To Find The Right Shoe Inserts For You

  1. Look for insoles that have been well-tested and recommended by other users. If you don’t know someone personally, read the reviews online. However, don’t use the recommendation of the company itself.
  2. Take time to know your own feet before you buy. Neutral? Pronator? Supinator? Get a diagnosis from a medical professional or a specialized running store that uses a treadmill to watch you and help you understand your gait. Once you know, make sure to choose inserts that are specific to YOUR feet.
  3. Look for inserts with deep heel cups. Generally those who experience plantar fasciitis need more support in the arches of the feet. A deeper heel cup will provide this. Do you have flat feet? Low Arches? Moderate arches? If you aren’t sure, Runner’s World provides you with the Wet Feet Test that you can do at home to determine the amount of arch support you will need.
  4. Give the inserts time to break in before a race or longer run. Just like a new pair of shoes, the inserts will change the foot movement and your feet will need time to adjust. Do it in small doses.

With so many options out there, let us help you get started. We have a few to recommend and, if they don’t meet your needs, most of them will have other great options linked on the same page.

Here are our favorite picks! Click on the Amazon link below to be taken to the product.

Superfeet Black Premium Insoles

Custom designed for low-medium arch foot types they are considered one of the best on the market for flat feel. Other Superfeet Insoles fit different foot shapes. The Superfeet Blue, for more of a medium arch, is one of the best sellers out there.

Powerstep Protech Orthotic Supports

Plantar Fasciitis sufferers have chosen these for a long time reporting great results. These have a deep heel cup, dual layers for better shock absorption, and anti-microbial protection for freshness.

Powerstep Unisex Pinnacle Maxx Insole

If you are a severe pronator this is a great choice for you. The Powerstep has a slightly angled exterior heel platform to provide motion control. These are also anti-microbial.

GEL Orthotic Shoe Gel Insoles

Like shock absorbers for your car, these babies have a cushy gel material for gentle relief. One thing to consider: these come oversized for you to trim to fit your size rather than coming in a specific size set to your foot. This turns some people off.

Airplus Plantar Fasciitis Orthotic

Here is another choice with gel insert cushions. These also have the deep heel cup we recommend. Those who reviewed the Syono often noted they provide more stability than other more notable name brands they have tried.

Remember, these are a small handful from a giant bucket of options. Take a look around and get something that will give you happy feet!

Can I Work Out with Plantar Fasciitis?

The answer is yes! But you may have to adjust your workouts until the problem is resolved. And even then, make sure to resume your regular activities slowly.

Women doing child's pose in a yoga class

Yoga is a great form of low-impact exercise for people dealing with plantar fasciitis.

The key to staying fit while trying to resolve plantar fasciitis is to participate in things that will not contribute to heel strike or pounding of your feet.

Workouts To Try:

Workouts To Avoid:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Bouncing
  • Step Aerobics
  • Walking for fitness
  • Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops (use shoes even in your home!)

Physical therapy, night splints, custom orthotics and even surgery can play a role in solving plantar fasciitis if the more conservative treatments are not helping you.

For me personally, I had plantar fasciitis about 15 years ago after training for a marathon. What ended up helping me the most was sleeping in a boot, keeping my arch taped with first aid tape and wearing inserts in my running shoes.

Be sure to see your doctor if the pain persists for more than three to four weeks with the conservative treatments.

Best of luck and remember that slowing down now will help you continue to move for many years to come!

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Workout Mistakes That Can Leave You In Pain

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on January 6, 2019 at 11:53 AM Reply

* Is it possible to keep athletic tape on while wearing a night-splint (so that I don't have to rewrap my foot every single day)? * Do you recommend keeping the foot taped while backpacking? Thanks!

    on February 19, 2019 at 7:07 PM Reply

    Brian - I would consult your doctor if you are wearing athletic tape and a night-splint for an injury or a specific reason. However, with my experience, I would just do the night-splint and take off the tape. While you want to compress (RICE) injuries, you don't want to have this much compression on it at all times. Plus the athletic tape can get adhesive and can become very sticky at times. Again, I would consult your doctor on keeping your foot taped during backpacking, but if this provides extra support and security while moving, it may be a good idea to keep it on.

on November 5, 2018 at 1:04 AM Reply

I had it so bad I was out from work for two weeks then it hurt still for months. Started taking magnesium supplements, stretching , powerstep pinnacle max insole (I have super high arches) and deep tissue massage. I tried bowen and Mysofacial release and although I am in pain for a few days after deep tissue massage worked the best. I also take epsom salt bathes and ice often. Oh and massaging my feet with a tennis ball and golf ball. Still not perfect but 90% better.

on September 21, 2018 at 9:37 AM Reply

I have bone spurs with PF as well. For many years I taught hi-lo aerobics, ran, taught a low impact class which was done in bare feet, plus stilettos were my best friend. Cortisone shots used to help but not so much anymore. I think I'm at my limit with them. Not being able to work out as I used to is a bummer. Trying Pilates now, but it bores me to tears. If I travel by car for more than an hour I have to wear the boot or I'll have a huge flare and be down for a few weeks. Avoiding surgery like the plague and will try custom orthotics.

on September 14, 2018 at 6:50 AM Reply

I feel really sorry for anyone who has had this long term. My has just started, my favourite exercise is aquafit, three per week plus several hours of tennis. I thought I had bruised my right foot/heel but now I know what’s wrong. My own fault in a way, I stopped wearing aqua shoes as they caused drag and made some exercises difficult, big mistake, also I’ve worn flip flops at home and we have stone floors. I’m hoping a holiday with no aqua will ease what has happened but I’m going to ensure I wear my aqua shoes at all times from now on.

on March 20, 2018 at 2:24 PM Reply

I am 54.I have had PF for a year and a half and it is really awful. I went from 7 or 8 Aquafit sessions a week to 0. Cannot even walk around the loch. 20 minutes and my feet are done in especially the right though it stared on the left. I received laser treatment on the nhs which did help the left one to some extent but as I say the right one is sore. I have put on abut 3 stone and I am just fed up with it. I feel really old and frumpy because I have to wear trainers like Sketchers all the time and I cannot contemplate going anywhere on holiday where a lot of walking is involved. I feel I am just one of those older women you see with bad feet and wonder why sob sob. Self pity mode has kicked in lol.

on March 2, 2018 at 4:07 PM Reply

I had pf gor 4 years had physio .. sports podiatrists orthotics etc I had it in both feet ... what fixed it ... 2 sessions of Bowen therapy . The first one created such an inflamitary response was wondering what I had done .. the second one a couple of weeks later fixed it permanently I carried non running after that and have had nil issues for 9 years .. I decided to add some foam rolling into my running following a professional programme ... which has created inflammation in my calves and plantar which has not gone away ... heading back to Bowen therapy I know it works

on January 5, 2018 at 8:04 AM Reply

I feel your on a trainer active great down to 0workouts&30 waitng to see my foot dr soon as i can get in..the pain is so take the operation if i get offered it.. but a friend of mine just told me last night its a50/50 chance it works..i dont know if thats true but..i cant take this pain.its rediculous..i NEED TO WORKOUT..not lay in this bed anymore its terrible..

on August 27, 2017 at 8:12 PM Reply

I have had PT for 6 months- there is a guy on You Tube William Prowse IV who had PT in his early 20s from gymnastics. He knows so much about PT. It might be worth watching his videos. I also got his book ( ebook Pantar Faciitis survival guide), for about £5 and it goes through a programme to help get rid of PT. I have just started the programme

on June 9, 2017 at 6:23 PM Reply

I've suffered from PF for almost 7 years now. I've seen 3 Podiatrists and none have come up with anything that helps me. In fact, they all have the same playbook and none of their suggestions helped. I have done ice: doesn't do anything but make my foot cold; I've done PT and it made my pain worse; I've done all the stretching exercises: has not relieved any pain; I've spent thousands of dollars on inserts and shoes and none have relieved my pain: makes pain worse; I currently wear a night splint: makes my foot go numb and I can't sleep; I've taken the anti-inflammatory meds with no effect: even used anti-inflammatory topical that did nothing. Each Podiatrist has basically kicked me out of their office because their playbook didn't work for me. I now have additional health problems because of this. I have knee pain, difficulty walking through the grocery store, can't do anything that involves using my feet for more than 15 minutes so I have gained 70lbs. My blood pressure is rising because I can't work out anymore. No one will help me. No one will leave that playbook alone and actually help me. And now depression has set in. So kudos to the medical field for their epic fail.

    on November 8, 2017 at 8:53 PM Reply

    Hey! here is a link for chronic situations, these are extensive ways and found most effective for chronic situations. Hope this helps!

    on June 16, 2017 at 12:38 AM Reply

    I had PF for 2.5 years and tried pretty much everything other than surgery. My podiatrist finally said I had to get off the foot. I wore a boot and used a knee scooter for several months and it finally went away. Unfortunately, it just came back about 2 days ago, but in my other foot. It was a hassle staying off of it as I am a teacher and I work 2 jobs, but it did finally get rid of it.

on June 7, 2017 at 9:48 PM Reply

I had bone spurs along with PF. Orthotics worked great until my PF tissue had scarred soooo much it wouldn't stretch anymore. I had surgery and it cured it. They cut a tinyclit on each side of my heel, then cut the tissue 3/4 of the with across allowing it to stretch. Walking cast boot for 2 weeks. Didn't need orthotics anymore, but still wear shoes with good arches. Avia is a good walking shoe. It took a good year to heal & now I can go bare foot as well. Eventually had other one done & life is much better!! 😀👣

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