Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Exercises

Are heel spurs something that you find at the Kentucky Derby, or a medical condition that you could be at risk for? What causes a heel spur? What is plantar fasciitis? A condition or a body part? Great questions, and you can find all of the answers and information that you need for these below.

Additionally, you will find two of my favorite, and most effective, plantar fasciitis treatment exercises in the article as well. These are stretches that you can do from the comfort of your home and are sure to ease the pain and even help prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis and the wear and tear associated with heel spurs.While searching for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis, be sure to dig deep into other healing solutions like the ones listed below.

So, What is the Difference Between Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs

Heel spurs, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, what’s the difference and what causes them? First of all, they’re both problems that affect the heel and the sole of your feet which result in pain and complications while walking, running, or just standing up from a sitting position. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia which is the band of fibrous connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes.

A heel spur occurs when a calcium deposit (bone growth) develops on the bottom of your heel which is where the muscles and ligaments (including the plantar fascia) connect to your heel bone. This is known as a “heel spur” because this protrusion looks like a spur which is pointing forward.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

what causes plantar fasciitis

Image from the U.S. National Library of Medicine

The onset of plantar fasciitis can be a result of numerous factors. These include age, especially being between the ages of 40 and 60, high impact exercising such as ballet, Crossfit, long distance running, tennis, being flat footed, being obese and even working in a job where you are on your feet all day. Additionally, simply wearing inadequate footwear can also result in the onset of the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. If you find yourself in any of these at risk groups, be sure to pay special attention when buying shoes, especially work boots or shoes for any physical activities such as tennis, hiking or running.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

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Both heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis, are conditions where you will feel pain at the bottom of your heel. Heel spurs occur when there is intense stressing and tearing of the membrane covering your heel bone. Often, this pain will start as dull aches and gradually progress into sharp pains which are noticeably worse in the morning, especially when rising from ben in the morning. Just like the causes of plantar fasciitis, a wide variety of similar factors contribute to the onset of heel spur: age, physical activity, prolonged periods of time on your feet and the like.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Exercises

One of the most effective treatments of plantar fasciitis is simply stretching at home. Estimates vary, but the Palo Alto Medical Association has notes that 50% of Americans suffer from heel pain. If you find yourself amongst them, you will need to work to relieve your heel pain using every means necessary. Recommended treatments include the wearing of night splints, finding the proper pair of shoes to suit your lifestyle, compression socks and plantar fasciitis inserts. In conjunction with these store bought remedies, it’s advisable to also do exercises at home to help relieve the pain and prevent further inflammation of your plantar fascia.

The “Tennis” Foot Massage

This exercise is a sure fire way to bring relief to your heel and bottom of your foot. I call it the “tennis” foot massage because tennis players will often fill an empty tennis ball container with water, freeze it and slowly roll the entire bottom of their foot back and forth over it. Don’t worry, you don’t need an empty tennis ball container, you can use a cold beverage can, or bottle, from your fridge or a foam roller. You will definitely feel the benefits of the coolness as it helps bring relief to the inflammation. This is definitely my favorite of all plantar fasciitis treatment exercises and it’s something I do regularly after long runs.To start this exercise, roll the bottom of your foot, starting with your heel, back and forth for 2-3 minutes and then move to your other foot if you are also experiencing heel pain in it.

Big Toe Stretch

This is a great stretch which will take the pressure off of your plantar fascia while you are walking or running.

For this stretch, sit upright in a chair and cross your painful foot over your knee so that your toes are facing forward and the bottom of your foot is facing away from you, perpendicular to the floor. Grab your big toe and slowly pull it towards you using the hand from the same side as the leg that you are working on. Once you have pulled your big toe, so that you are feeling a stretch all along the underside of your foot, hold it there for 30 seconds and then repeat this 3 times.


So, by now you should be able to recite the difference between plantar fasciitis and heel spurs in your sleep! I'm kidding of, course, they're so similar that it can be difficult to differentiate the two. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the fatty band that connects your toes to your heel bone. Heel spurs are the calcium deposits that grow on the bottom of your foot in the shape of a hook, or spur, facing forward. The pain associated with both of them can be brought on by similar factors: lack of proper footwear, long hours on our feet, advanced age and regular, intense, physical activity. If you are suffering from heel pain, be sure to try the two stretches listed above. They are both part of my post-run routine and have helped me subdue annoying, and constant, heel pain in the past.


Paul Curran

An avid, artist, writer and fitness junkie, Paul hails from the Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been running since the second grade and has now runs Half-Marathons. When he isn't running, you can find Paul tending his Bonsai trees on his patio.