There is little reliable scientific evidence of the effectiveness of stretching the calf or plantar fascia in relieving plantar fasciitis, but it is widely recommended and has some evidence it may help. Some studies suggest that stretching the plantar fascia is more effective than stretching the calf muscles.
Tahririan MA, Motififard M, Tahmasebi MN, Siavashi B. Plantar fasciitis. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2012;17(8):799-804.
SELF CARE: 5/5
Stretching is easy to do and requires no special equipment.
Stretching is free unless you consult a provider first for advice on proper technique.
USEFULNESS (overall rating): 4/5
There seems to be little risk of harm, it is easy to do and costs nothing. We recommend you give it a try, and it can be done in conjunction with other treatment approaches.
Tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles can aggravate PF. In addition, one reason it hurts so much when you first get out of bed, or stand after sitting a while is that the plantar fascia is somewhat shorter when we don’t have weight on it. Standing causes the fascia to be stretched rapidly, leading to more pain. Keeping the fascia stretched may help. It is one reason many providers recommend using night splints to keep the foot extended.
Stand about arm’s length from the wall, with one foot in front of the other. Keep the back foot on the ground while slowly bending the knee of the forward foot. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and then switch sides. You should feel this stretch in your calf muscle.
Sit with one leg crossed on the other knee. Grab your toes or the ball of the foot and bend the toes backwards, stretching the bottom of the foot. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Toe Pick Up:
use a small towel and try to pick it up with your toes.