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A person seated on a bed holding their painful foot, with visible redness on the heel. Text overlay reads: "What Not to Do with Plantar Fasciitis: Exercises to Avoid" followed by "Dr. Dennis Colón, DPT, Dr. Brian Broussard, DPT, Dr. John Broussard, DO, CAQSM.

What Not to Do with Plantar Fasciitis: Exercises to Avoid


Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that affects people worldwide. Described by sharp pain in the heel or arch of the foot, it can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. This blog aims to clarify what not to do with plantar fasciitis and highlights exercises to avoid, ensuring a more effective and faster recovery.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. This condition is particularly common among runners, obese individuals, people with flat feet, and those whose occupations require long periods of time on their feet. 

The foot pain, often described as a stabbing sensation, typically occurs in the morning upon taking the first steps or after extended periods of standing or sitting. Understanding the mechanics and triggers of this condition is important for effective management and prevention.

What Not to Do With Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t Delay Treatment

Ignoring the initial symptoms of plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic heel pain and more severe foot problems. Early intervention is key to a fast and successful recovery. Consult a health care professional as soon as you notice chronic pain to prevent further damage.

Don’t Skip Your Stretches

Stretching is part of managing plantar fasciitis. Regular stretching exercises help loosen the plantar fascia and relieve tension in the heel and foot. Skipping these stretches can prolong recovery time and increase discomfort.

Don’t Fight Through the Pain

Continuing to perform activities that trigger plantar fasciitis pain can worsen the condition. Listening to your body and avoiding movements that cause discomfort is important in preventing further injury to the plantar fascia.

Avoid High-Impact Activities

High-impact exercises or activities like running, jumping, or intense aerobics can cause repetitive stress on the plantar fascia, aggravating the condition. Consider low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling to maintain fitness without risking further damage.

Avoid Wearing Old, Flat Shoes

Proper footwear is important in managing plantar fasciitis. Wearing old, worn-out, or flat shoes can increase stress on the plantar fascia. Choose supportive shoes with adequate arch support and cushioning to help distribute pressure evenly across the foot.

The Role of Exercise in Plantar Fasciitis

The Role of Exercise in Plantar Fasciitis

While it might seem contradictory, exercise can actually be beneficial in managing plantar fasciitis. The key is to choose safe, effective, and simple exercises that promote healing and strengthen the muscles that support your feet.

Safe and Effective Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

  • Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall, arms shoulder-width apart, hands on the wall for balance. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calves, hold for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
  • Rolling stretch: Sit in a chair, roll a tennis ball or frozen water bottle under your foot for a few minutes, applying gentle pressure to massage and stretch the plantar fascia.
  • Seated foot stretch: Sit with one leg extended and the other foot pulled towards you. Gently pull back on your toes (using a towel if needed) until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
  • Towel curls: Sit with a towel on the floor and loop it around your toes. Use your toes to pull the towel towards you, gathering it in a bunch. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly release. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Marble pickups: Pick up marbles or small objects from the floor using only your toes. This strengthens the muscles in your foot and improves agility.
  • Hip hovers: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your core engaged, lift your hips slightly off the ground, hold for a few seconds, and then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Seated Towel Stretch: Sit with a towel looped around your forefoot. Pull gently on the towel to stretch your toes and arch of your foot. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
  • Sideways Leg Lifts: Lie on your side with legs stacked on top of each other. Lift your top leg a few inches off the ground, hold for a few seconds, and then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Exercises to Avoid with Plantar Fasciitis

While certain types of exercises are beneficial, some can make pain worse in your condition. Here are some plantar fasciitis exercises to avoid:

  • Running: The repetitive pounding on your heels can aggravate inflammation.
  • Jumping and Hopping: These physical activities put additional stress on the plantar fascia. Find alternative exercises that don’t involve jumping.
  • High-Impact Aerobics: Jumping jacks, lunges with jumps, and other high-impact movements should be avoided.
  • Step Aerobics or Plyometrics (Jumping Exercises): These activities involve repetitive jumping motions that can worsen plantar fasciitis.
  • Hill Running: Running uphill puts excessive stress on the calf muscles and plantar fascia. Stick to flat surfaces until your plantar fasciitis heals.
  • Burpees: This exercise involves a combination of jumping, squatting, and pushing off the ground, all of which can significantly stress the plantar fascia. The rapid transitions between positions and the impact on landing make burpees a high-risk activity for those with plantar fasciitis.

Can You Exercise with Plantar Fasciitis?

Yes, you can exercise with plantar fasciitis, but it’s important to choose activities that do not worsen the condition. Low-impact exercises are preferred as they minimize stress on the plantar fascia while allowing you to stay active and healthy.

Treatment and Rehabilitation for Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment and Rehabilitation for Plantar Fasciitis


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide temporary relief from the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Always consult a health care professional before starting any medication to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific condition.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a cornerstone treatment of plantar fasciitis. A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program and stretches that target the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles. This therapy helps reduce pain levels, increase flexibility, and strengthen foot muscles, contributing to long-term foot health and mobility.

Lifestyle Changes

Making simple adjustments in daily activities can significantly impact the recovery process from plantar fasciitis. For example, reducing the duration of common activities that involve long periods on your feet can help relieve symptoms. 

Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight is important. People with a BMI of 30 or more are five times more likely to have plantar fasciitis than those with a BMI less than 25. This is because excess weight puts significant stress and pressure on your feet, indicating that excess weight significantly increases the stress and pressure on the feet. 

Finally, ensuring you wear appropriate footwear that provides proper support and cushioning is also essential for managing and preventing further discomfort. These lifestyle changes can collectively create a positive environment for recovery and reduce the risk of worsening the condition.


In rare cases where conservative treatment does not provide relief, surgery might be considered. Surgical options include procedures to release part of the plantar fascia or remove heel spurs if present. Surgery is typically reserved for severe cases where other treatment options have failed and persistent pain affects the quality of life.

Seeking Professional Help with Alliance Regen and Rehab for Your Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t suffer with plantar fasciitis alone. At Alliance Regen and Rehab, their physical therapists have a deep understanding of foot mechanics, including what is fascia and how it functions. With this expertise, they can suggest exercises to avoid with plantar fasciitis and create personalized treatment plans that target the root cause of your pain and get you back to your active lifestyle.


Understanding what not to do when you have plantar fasciitis is as important as knowing the correct measures to take. Avoiding certain exercises and activities while engaging in recommended treatments and preventive practices can greatly enhance your recovery. Always seek advice from healthcare professionals to manage your symptoms effectively and avoid further complications.


What kind of activities can damage the plantar fascia over time?

Prolonged high-impact athletic activities, such as running on hard surfaces, intensive aerobics, and sports activities that involve extensive jumping or rapid direction changes, can significantly stress and potentially damage the plantar fascia.

Should you stop walking if you have plantar fasciitis?

Not necessarily. While it’s crucial to reduce the intensity and duration of walks, especially on hard surfaces, moderate walking with appropriate footwear can be beneficial unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider.

What makes plantar fasciitis worse?

Risk factors that can worsen plantar fasciitis include excess weight bearing, inadequate foot support, sudden increases in activity level, and tight muscles in the foot. Avoiding these triggers can help manage and relieve symptoms.