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  • Coach Matt Pippin

How To Fix Plantar Fasciitis (Runners, This Is For You!)

Plantar Fasciitis…the two words no runner ever wants to hear. Want to know an easy way to start dealing with it? Or better yet…how to prevent it from ever happening?

Today, I’m going to show you two exercises that will target your arches and toes so you can kick that plantar fasciitis to the curb and get back to running without pain.


Plantar fasciitis is an irritation or tear of the fascial tissue located on the bottom of the foot.


Plantar fasciitis happens when you don’t take care of your feet and that tissue, right in your arch, also known as the plantar fascia, gets stiff and weak. When that happens and you go out for a run for example, that tissue becomes inflamed and can possibly tear.

The biggest culprit in this, is as a society we spend so much time in cushioned, heeled shoes that our feet basically turn off. I like to think of shoes as little coffins, where feet go to die. No bueno! However, there is hope and I’ll show you how in today’s coaching.


The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is an ache or pain on the back portion of your arch. The pain can radiate front to back of the foot and if severe enough, you’ll actually feel a “pop” or tear in that area. Usually people will feel the discomfort the most when they first get out of bed in the morning or when you start to walk after you’ve been sitting for awhile.


The most common approach that people try when dealing with plantar fasciitis is to immediately start stretching your calves. While this can provide some small temporary relief, you’re essentially missing out on where the problem is truly occurring… in your arch.

Other strategies are foam rolling their calves, doing calf raises, and adding more support in their shoes with orthotics.


In order to get your plantar fasciitis under control, I suggest the following plan of action:

  • Bring awareness and blood flow to the bottom of your feet with myofascial release using a lacrosse or tennis ball.

  • Stretch and strengthen the tissues along the bottom of your foot.

  • Build the connection between your brain/nervous system and the muscles that control your feet, arches, and toes.


You’ll see in the sequence I show you in the video above, we’ll first work on those arches to wake up that tissue and start relieving some tightness.

Once your arches are loosened up, we’ll strengthen them by attacking your toes. Yes. If you go and wiggle your toes right now, you’ll definitely feel how they’re connected to your arch. When we build strength in your toes by getting them to flex and extend, we’re also building strength in your plantar fascia.

Exercise #1: Myofascial Release with Contractions

We'll use this exercise to bring neurological awareness to the tissues on the bottom of your foot by stimulating blood flow to the area, as well as giving it tactile awareness.

Since most people are stuck in thick soled shoes all day, the foot begins to lose the function of all the sensory receptors. Rolling the foot on a ball combined with contracting/relaxing these tissues will begin the process of “awakening” them.

How to Perform This Exercise:

  • Using a tennis or lacrosse ball, slowly begin to roll the bottom of your foot between the ball and heel (arch) with gentle pressure. While you're doing this, scan for any tender or tight areas. Continue this for a minute or two making a mental note of where these areas are.

  • Place the ball on one of the spots and flex the bottom of the foot by bringing your toes down towards the floor for 3 seconds. Relax, allow the ball to sink into the tissue a little more and then extend the toes up towards the ceiling, creating a stretch sensation in the arch for 3 seconds.

  • Repeat this entire sequence 2 more times for one spot.

  • Continue this for any other spots you found while rolling the arches.

Equipment Needed:

You’ll need a tennis ball or lacrosse ball for this exercise.

Common Compensations:

When performing the rolling of the arches, do you best to keep it only in your arch. Rolling over the ball or heel of your foot could be quite painful since your moving over bone. Also, if you’re rolling on a hard surface (wood, tile, etc) use a softer ball as you don’t want to cause any type of pain.

Exercise #2: Toe CARs

We'll use Toe CARs to strengthen and improve the coordination of the small muscles on the top and bottom of your foot that move your toes.

How to Perform This Exercise:

  • Keep 4 little toes down and lift only your big toe for 5 repetitions.

  • Keep your big toe down and lift your 4 little toes for 5 repetitions.

  • Lift all 5 toes as high as you can, keep your 4 little toes in the air and lower only your big toe to the ground for 5 repetitions.

  • Lift all 5 toes as high as you can, keep the your big toe in the air and lower only your 4 little toes to the ground for 5 repetitions.

Equipment Needed:

No equipment is needed for this exercise.

Common Compensations:

Resist the urge to roll onto the inside or outside part of your foot when lifting the toes. Imagine that you’re keeping equal pressure on the back, left and right of your foot the entire time.


A great time to perform this sequence is right before running or just get it in sometime throughout the day. You can do this every single day and progress by increasing the reps of your toe movements to 10 reps each toe.



Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change. CLICK HERE to learn more.


  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)

  • Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor

  • Weck Method Qualified

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