How To Deal, Heal, And Workout With Plantar Fasciitis

Fitness: Get Fit

By: // February 13, 2015

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 I guess is the 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?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

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

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  But other things also contribute 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
The heavier you are, the more stress put on your plantar fascia.

Related: 5 Best Exercises To Beat Back Pain

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: 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 wrapped around your foot. Gently pull back on the towel and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat. Remember to stretch both feet, even if one is not injured. Prevention is easier than resolution!

Ice: 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.

Massage: 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 work like a foam roller for your foot. Of course, the frozen water bottle also serves this purpose.

Medication: Over the counter anti-inflammatories can help. Ibuprofen or Naproxin are good bets.

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

For you busybodies out there, we know that taking a few rest days is tough. But with plantar fasciitis, staying off your feet can be your best friend!

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.

Shoe Inserts For Plantar Fasciitis

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.

Syono 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. 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:

Women doing child's pose in a yoga class

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

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 14 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

Printed from


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!! 😀👣

on June 6, 2017 at 4:44 PM Reply

I had severe plantar fasciitis for years from an injury from running too much without warming up. The pain continued for years. I wrapped my feet, and used ice packs. Nothing. Finally visited a podiatrist who made hard orthotics from a plaster mold of my feet. These were made from some type of polymer, they will never wear out. The minute I put them in my shoes my feet stopped hurting. The pain had been so bad that I had to walk on my tiptoes. Twenty five years later, I still wear these orthotics and am still pain free.

on April 25, 2017 at 12:10 AM Reply

I have had p f for 3 years now. I was very active 6 days a week to 0. A month ago my doc put me in a fracture boot and its working. I took steroids for 15 days to get the swelling down and got a mri. The mri showed a cyst right where the PF is. OMG this might need to be taken out now.. He wasn't me to keep the boot on for another 3 weeks but thinking that it's going to be fine now. The boot is helping like 95% I'm still waiting to see if it is possible for this to work. Good luck

on April 17, 2017 at 7:13 AM Reply

Had anyone tried PRP injections for it? Or other treatments besides Tenex? Are they painful?

    on January 5, 2018 at 8:07 AM Reply

    I tried the shots once and thot id die.. the pain was so bad for5days..and honestly it didnt work..but ive had friends tell me try again.. but im way to scared of those giant shots..but il admit im thinking of it now..30pounds later and working out everyday to zero days😔

    on July 8, 2017 at 10:30 PM Reply

    I did the PRP injection 2 months ago. I weigh 298 lbs. I thought I'd die the first 3 days, then the pain eased up. Used a seated walker (no room for wheelchair in home, and unable to use a knee scooter or crutches) and stayed 100% off foot for 2 weeks. Then able to gradually stand, etc. for short periods (told to use motorized scooter provided by stores when shopping). Now, 2 months later I am pain-free for first time in years. Best money I'd ever spent (not covered by insurance). BUT be sure to follow 100% of doctor's orders and don't rush the healing process!

    on May 15, 2017 at 9:28 AM Reply

    I did get the injection on the inner part of my heel. felt the pressure, but afterwards it was fine. had the boot on for 2 weeks now. I don't even feel the pain in the mornings anymore. dr told me no cardio, but I cant just sit around and get fat. im starting the elliptical back today and the rower. I have also been lifting weights since the boot just to do something that the gym.

on April 9, 2017 at 4:13 PM Reply

Pure magnesium oil spray that you rub into the soles up to your knees can really help! The Ancient Minerals brand is the purest. Chronic Inflammation in the body can be a cause of this. The oil is great for any kind of tendon/muscle inflammation, insomnia & a bunch of other stuff. A lot of pro-athletes use this.

on February 26, 2017 at 11:39 PM Reply

I just got orthotics last week for my PF and the pain is worse?!Has any one else experinced this?

    on January 5, 2018 at 7:47 AM Reply

    I got the diagnoses of pf with neuropathy 11years ago..i thought i was going to die my life was over..dramatic i know..but im a personal trainer and love to workout..i was in bed for weeks i was training for a marathon..i was just about there..running at6.0 for an hour a day..until that day came i felt nothing&off the tredmil i went..terrible..i went to the foot dr got the incerts &OMG the pain was worse..they did not work..i bought thousands of dollars in every kind of sneaker..nothing really helped.. well eventually the pain subsided off and on over these 11years..i havent had to see the foot dr..until now.. its been 2weeks i can barely walk the pain is waiting for a call with my appointment now..i bought gel soles and a few other things that were useless.. 60dollars later..and once again i was doing so good on the tredmil..i wasnt running longer then15mins..a lot of walking.35.000 steps a day down to 8.000...but now i cant do so worried about gaining more weight.. i already gained 30pounds in the last three years and im miserable..i need my feet back😔theres a lot of helpful info i read on here to answer the question about the incerts no they didnt help me..i just remarried after a21year marriage that completely happy with my life my husband but my feet and my need good working feet and if anyone has info on the best workout equipment for foot issues..that would be great i have a tredmil an eliptical a bike&a zillion videos..not working out for me as of now...

    on April 21, 2017 at 4:35 PM Reply

    I too have plantar fasciitis. Went to podiatrist and got Orthotics which made my feet hurt more. Then I went for physical therapy for 6 weeks which helped, but my physical therapist told me that people with plantar fasciitis don't necessarily need Orthotics. What they need to do is a lot of stretching. It's been about a year since I first felt the pain on my feet and hasn't completely gone away but it is getting better with no Orthotics. I started swimming instead of cardio and that seemed to help too

(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)

Send this to a friend