Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and one of the most common foot conditions. It is a painful, inflammatory and degenerative condition of the plantar fascia, the band of connective tissue that connects the base of the heel bone with the toes, and whose function is to help support the arch of the foot. The following stretches will help you eliminate foot pain and even leg pain.

Plantar fasciitis and foot pain

Plantar fasciitis is mainly due to excessive load on the feet. While standing, walking, or running, the plantar fascia can be under significant strain; when this tension is excessive, small tears in the fascia can occur, triggering an inflammatory reaction.

Physical activities that excessively load the plantar fascia are among the most common risk factors for plantar fasciitis, particularly those that involve running, jumping, dancing, standing for long periods of time, or even being barefoot.

Excessive weight, wearing shoes with inadequate support for the feet, exercising without proper warm-up, engaging in new physical activities without proper preparation, or suddenly increasing the intensity of regular activities also all contribute to an increased chance of developing plantar fasciitis.

In general, everything is a matter of the excess pressure and stress that you are exerting on the plantar fascia.

Therefore, plantar fasciitis can also be a consequence of biomechanical factors in the foot that increase the load on the plantar fascia, such as excessive pronation (known as flat feet) or having a high arch, for example, and with it pain feet.

Plantar fasciitis and pain in the feet and muscles involved

The muscles, tendons, and joints of the lower leg and ankle are all structurally and functionally connected. The calf muscles (called the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) promote movement of the ankle and foot.

These two muscles join through bands of connective tissue to form the Achilles tendon, located at the back of the ankle, which connects the calf muscles to the heel.

In turn, the Achilles tendon is connected to the plantar fascia through the ankle joint. The Achilles tendon is responsible for transmitting the force generated by the calf muscles through the ankle joint to the foot.

The calf muscles and the Achilles tendon provide support to the plantar fascia to support the weight of our body and absorb the impact of our gait or stride.

Like the plantar fascia, the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon are under significant stress when you stand, walk, or run for long periods of time. This can cause them to overwork and tense up.

But the opposite is also true: tight calf muscles can also be the result of lack of use due to, for example, prolonged sitting.

When the calf muscles tighten, more pressure is put on the Achilles tendon. Increased stress on the Achilles tendon will increase the stress on the plantar fascia, increasing the likelihood of foot injuries.

In addition, tight calf muscles can limit ankle movements, leading to adjustments to the biomechanics of the foot, such as excessive pronation, which lowers the arch of the foot and overstretches the plantar fascia.

Therefore, the indirect functional relationship between the calf muscles, the Achilles tendon, and the plantar fascia is very important in the context of plantar fasciitis and foot pain.

The good news is that you can easily get rid of tight calf muscles and even foot pain with a few simple treatments, particularly through stretching exercises.

Best stretches for tight calves and sore feet

Stretching your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia helps you get rid of muscle and tendon tension and increases support for the plantar fascia.

Simple lower extremity stretching exercises help stabilize the ankle joint and maintain the integrity of the arch of the foot, reducing the likelihood of developing foot pain.

Stretching exercises for the lower leg and foot are simple, easy to do at home, and can easily be included in your daily routine. Preferably, these stretching exercises should be done at least twice a day.


It is important to always warm up by doing a short period of walking before stretching to avoid injury.

6 stretches to eliminate foot and leg pain

Here are some simple stretches for the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles that you can easily do at home:

Plantar fascia massage

Using two fingers, apply small circular motions to any knots and lumps in the plantar fascia. Apply deep pressure, but not so much that you feel pain. This massage helps you loosen and stretch the plantar fascia.

Soleus stretch

Stand up straight with your hands against the wall, with your knees apart and your toes facing forward. Keeping your heels flat on the floor, lean toward the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf.

You can also place the injured foot slightly behind the other foot and, keeping your heels flat on the floor, slowly bend your knees until you feel the stretch in your lower leg.

Another option, also putting the injured foot slightly behind the other foot and the heels flat on the floor, is to slowly lean forward keeping the injured leg straight and bending the other leg until you feel the stretch in the middle of the calf.

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Staggered stretch

Stand with your toes on a step with your legs slightly apart and your heels off the edge of the step. Slowly lower your heels, keeping your knees straight, until you feel the stretch in your calves.

Stay like this for 15 seconds and then lift your heels back to the starting position. You can stretch both feet at the same time or one foot at a time. Repeat five times.

Roller stretching / ice massage

Cold can ease inflammation and pain, while massaging the bottom of the foot can stretch the plantar fascia. Therefore, combining the two is a great way to treat foot pain.

This can easily be done with a frozen water bottle – just roll it back and forth with the arch of your foot from your toes to your heels.

Ice massage can be very effective in quickly relieving your discomfort and pain and preventing pain after long periods of inactivity.

You can also use a rolling pin, can, or tennis ball, for example, but using something cold will help reduce inflammation. You can do it standing or sitting.

Stretch with elastic strap for foot pain

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Take an elastic strap and wrap it around your toes. Keeping your knees straight, gently pull the strap toward you, pulling your fingers toward your body. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then release. Repeat three times.

Toe stretch

Kneel by resting your buttocks on your legs and leaving your feet in a vertical position but leaving your toes bent, resting on the floor.

Another position is to place the toes on the wall with the bottom of the foot and the heel on the floor. Slowly lean against the wall until you feel the stretch. Stay like this for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Other treatments for tight muscles and sore feet

Stretching alone can be helpful, but when used in combination with other conservative remedies it becomes much more effective. Here are some simple plantar fasciitis treatments to use in combination with stretches:

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage to the heel and back of the calf muscles helps to stretch and release tension in these tissues. Therefore, it can be very helpful in alleviating any pain or discomfort. However, it is important to have an expert do it.

Night-before splints

Night splints help support the arch of your foot and stretch the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles while you sleep. They can be very helpful if used regularly every night. However, this may not be a good option if you sleep poorly, as wearing night splints can disrupt your sleep.


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