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How To: Exercise with Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis affects more than 3 million American adults per year, and is most common for those who are middle age and older. The plantar fascia is a connective tissue band, connecting your heel to toes and acts as the shock absorber for the supporting arch in your foot. Plantar fasciitis can happen when that tissue is stressed from weight gain, lack of support in shoes or increased amount of miles ran.

Exercising With Plantar Fasciitis

Jamal Ahmad, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon at NorthShore, describes the pain as a deep aching, throbbing or stabbing sensation. It’s best to address this pain right away and while it may seem crazy, working out can help plantar fasciitis. Dr. Ahmad recommends avoiding impact exercises such as running or jumping, or any exercises that make your foot hurt. To start, try these exercises:


  • Stationary cycle
  • Swimming
  • Battle ropes
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical
  • Hand cycle

Once you have started on these exercises, try doing springs on them – 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds at normal pace.


  • Leg curl
  • Leg extension
  • Bench press
  • Pull ups
  • Dips
  • Push ups
  • Sit ups
  • Reverse crunch

Start with a lighter weight and more repetitions. Eventually you can increase your weights.


You can also use a tennis ball or frozen water bottle to roll under your foot, acting as a massage for the bottom of your foot.

Before starting any exercise, it’s important to consult with your primary care physician.