Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
October 18 2018

How To Cure Plantar Fasciitis

By Brad Kearns
39 Comments

As many of you know, Brad is my longtime writing partner, host of the Primal Endurance podcast and host of the weekly keto show on the Primal Blueprint podcast. (He’s just started his own podcast recently called Get Over Yourself. You can check it out and even listen to an edition he’s called “The Ultimate Mark Sisson Interview.”) Our relationship goes back 30 years to when I was Brad’s coach during his career on the professional triathlon circuit. The start of Brad’s chronic plantar fasciitis ordeal dates back nearly that long, until he was completely cured in a matter of weeks back in 2011. Hence, the subject of today’s post! If you are a sufferer, pay close attention because we dove deep into this topic and are giving you the tools to never suffer again.

Indeed, as Brad will detail shortly, miracle cures are possible, even for extreme sufferers. About three years ago, Brad was over at my place on a Monday and noticed me spending a lot of time rubbing and stretching my chronically tight Achilles tendon; it had taken its weekly beating the previous day at Ultimate Frisbee. I tried the prolonged stretches he details in the article and experienced immediate relief. (Around the same time, I also started to experiment with the early supplemental collagen products on the market, which also helped my foot issues and other joint aches and pains clear up.). 

Enjoy today’s article, and let us know your thoughts on this treatment protocol. 

Plantar fasciitis—it’s painful to even pronounce, and if you contract this condition you’re in for a long, frustrating, painful ordeal. It’s characterized by a burning sensation around the rim and/or bottom of your heel, and assorted peripheral pains such as a sore or burning arch, sensitive nerve endings along your arch, inflamed bursa sacs in your heel bone that make the heel sensitive to touch and applied weight, a bumpy, lumpy sensation on the bottom of your heel that are often called bone spurs, and general stiffness, tightness, and pain in the foot, arch, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles.

Symptoms are typically worse first thing in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. If you have a mild case, you can get some range of motion and blood flow going upon awakening and the pain will typically subside and not compromise your exercise. In advanced stages, you will have a hard time getting mobility going and even walking will be painful. When you do get sufficiently warmed up and into a workout, the burning pain will often continue during and after exercise. The condition can worsen over time until you are sidelined by the lack of mobility and subsequent chronic pain.

Explaining Plantar Fasciitis: Anatomy and Causes Behind It

The plantar fascia is a super-strong ligament that runs the length of the bottom of your foot. On one end, the plantar fascia attaches to the metatarsal bones of each of your toes. It then fans out wide, like a sheet covering the length of the bottom of your foot. It subsequently tapers to attach into your calcaneus (heel bone). The plantar fascia acts as a prominent shock absorber when you walk, run, or jump. Consequently, it gets put under a lot of stress and can easily become inflamed when the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your lower extremities are dysfunctional or overstressed.

Plantar fasciitis is extremely common among not only runners and competitive athletes but also folks who work on their feet all day like nurses, laborers and even standup desk user. Then there are people who have strong sedentary patterns (commute, desk job, insufficient exercise); people with arthritis, obesity, poor muscle tone, flexibility, mobility or generally poor physical fitness; and people who wear crappy modern shoes with stiff construction, encased toe compartments, and elevated heels. Does that pretty much cover the entire population of the developed world?

Indeed, no one is immune to the risk of plantar fasciitis, because the condition often comes about when there is any sort of weakness, overuse, inflammation, or dysfunction in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower extremities. For example, if your calf muscles or Achilles tendons become stiff and inflamed from doing chronic cardio or consuming an inflammation-boosting high-carb, allergenic-loaded, SAD diet, these dysfunctions may manifest most painfully as plantar fasciitis.

I don’t know many serious runners who haven’t had this condition at one point or another in their lives. I had the condition for the better part of 15 years—ranging from a mild lingering annoyance that vanished with some quick morning exercises that increased blood flow and mobility, to so debilitating that I couldn’t walk in the morning. Indeed, for several years in the midst of my professional triathlon career, I had to exit bed onto one leg, hop out the door into the backyard, then drop my right leg into my backyard spa. Only after a few minutes of working through ankle and calf range of motion with hot jets blasting could I apply pressure to the foot and walk normally. Then, I’d lace up my shoes and head out for a run of five, ten, or even twenty miles!

That’s a strange juxtaposition from cripple to endurance machine in a few minutes, but it generates an important reflection: plantar fasciitis almost never gets better with rest alone. On the contrary, it quite often gets worse when an injured athlete stops running or a nurse takes a leave from the ER floor for a desk position. For example, during one off season of my professional career, I decided (in consultation with my coach Mark Sisson) to take a six-week break from running in order to focus on swimming and cycling and allow the painful plantar fasciitis injury to heal once and for all. Upon my return to light jogging, you can guess what happened: the injury was more painful than ever!

Interventions That Address the Symptoms, Not the Cause

Before we get to the prescribed treatment protocol, let’s look at what interventions are commonly suggested but generally don’t work well at actually treating the condition. (See how many look familiar.) As you might expect, athletes and active folks have tried all sorts of treatment modalities and remedies, most of them landing somewhere on the spectrum from ineffective but harmless to outright disastrous.

Rest

Well intentioned as it may be, rest is usually ineffective with plantar fasciitis. Getting off your feet or out of your exercise groove results in atrophy of both the large muscles and small stabilizer muscles in your legs as well as reduced range of motion, increased stiffness, shortened muscle, and—often—more pain when you try to return to your normal activities.

Orthotics, Arch Supports, Arch Taping

These approaches work like a Band-Aid works to stop the bleeding. If you have plantar fasciitis and have to perform for your country in the Olympics, a professional taping job is a great idea to keep the pain at bay and allow you to qualify out of your heat for the quarter-final. Alas, these support measures fail to address the cause, however.

Furthermore, they can very often compromise healing if you insist on using them long-term instead of making a sincere commitment to addressing and healing the underlying causes. Specifically, using artificial aids and supports will cause weakening and atrophy of the lower extremities over time. You make things easy for your feet, so they can wither away inside a cushy protective cocoon instead of be challenged to grow stronger every moment that you ambulate.

That said, remember that staying active is essential to ultimate healing of plantar fasciitis, and so using support measures to help you stay active by any means necessary can be warranted over the short term.

Ice, Heat, Electrical Stimulation, Ultrasound

These and other feel-good techniques are generally focused on relieving painful symptoms—symptoms that are bound to return again and again over time until you address the cause. As previously stated, complementary therapies are fine to the extent that they help keep you active. Ice massage can also be helpful in the aftermath of performing some aggressive healing exercises, as we will discuss shortly.

Massage Therapy

This can be highly effective to undo some of the damage caused by chronic injury and facilitate healing. In particular, Active Release Technique (ART) and deep tissue techniques go a long way toward increasing the mobility and fluidity of muscles and connective tissue.

The caveat here is that deep massage and ART treatments set you up for success, but you have to do the healing work described shortly to make the effects stick. Otherwise, you will undo damage with the bodywork, then create the damage all over again by exercising on dysfunctional legs.

Cortisone Injection

Can you say “rupture”? Not rapture, but rupture. Yes, ouch! Generally, cortisone injections provide immediate and amazing relief from pain symptoms, often at extreme risk to your long-term health. When you override your body’s natural inflammatory processes and pain signaling with a powerful drug, you gain instant relief, but increase injury risk because you no longer are governed by natural tightness and pain that is attempting to protect you from the damage of performing with a dysfunctional appendage. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory treatments (including chronic use of seemingly innocent NSAIDS before workouts) weaken your natural ability to regulate inflammation over time.

There are a tiny fraction of injury cases where a cortisone injection may provide enough relief to facilitate an aggressive rehabilitation process that results in healing, but I urge extreme caution here. I say “extreme” because you may face enthusiastic health care professionals who will pretty much beg you to accept an injection. I know someone whose decades long nursing career ended in large part due to a cortisone injection that preceded a rupture, multiple surgeries, and ultimately a downward spiral that ended in permanent disability status.

The Plantar Fasciitis Cure: An Extended Stretching Regimen For Fast Healing

When you address the causes of plantar fasciitis, you’ll experience relief from the painful symptoms surprisingly quickly. To correct the cause, you must lengthen your calf muscles, increase mobility throughout the lower extremities, and start a methodical progression to a more minimalist/barefoot lifestyle. Commit to the following protocol every single day for just a couple weeks and it’s quite likely that even a severe and debilitating long-term condition will clear up to the extent that you will be pain-free and fully functional in a matter of weeks.

Lengthen Your Calf Muscles

“Do the wall stretches several times a day. Hold each stretch for two minutes. You’ll be healed in a few weeks.” This brief quip was all I needed to cure 15 years of consistent pain and suffering from plantar fasciitis. The message was delivered to me in 2011 by a podiatrist in a booth at the race expo of the Sacramento, CA, Urban Cow Half-Marathon and 5k—where I am the announcer annually. I have tried in vain to figure out who the guy was, but I’ll extend my deepest gratitude to the mystery healer right here and now.

Here is what happened on that fateful day: I typically walk the grounds and meet the exhibitors, so I can give them a little plug over the P.A. I remember from that day a booth with signs about healing foot pain and exam tables set up for interested runners. An enthusiastic podiatrist greeted me at the booth and started talking about how he could easily and quickly cure conditions like plantar fasciitis.

I challenged his assertion, informing him that I’d had the condition for 15 years and had tried everything: morning Jacuzzi hopping, a heel lift in my right foot, removing the heel lift, returning the heel lift, expensive rigid orthotics custom molded from my footprint, expensive soft “dynamic” orthotics made of silicone gel, obsessive icing and stretching, wearing giant pillow cushion shoes from Nike, switching over to Vibram Five Fingers and other minimalist options, switching back to pillow shoes—basically everything short of the dreaded cortisone injection.

I eventually agreed to try the prolonged stretches, obviously with huge reservations but a sincere commitment. In a few weeks, my symptoms were completely gone for the first time in 15 years. I’d call it a miracle, but it was so incredibly simple I’m not sure you can call it a miracle.

Extended Wall Stretch

Hopefully, you’re familiar with the wall stretch that is the runner’s bread and butter? You extend one leg behind you, lean into the wall at a 45-degree angle, and push against it like you are trying to push it over. With your rear leg straightened and heel grounded, the stretch focuses on the soleus, the narrow muscle running along either side of your leg and merging at the bottom into your Achilles tendon. When you bend your rear leg and lift your heel off the ground, you redirect the emphasis to the gastrocnemius, the ball-shaped muscle that gives you that sexy rock-hard definition on the upper part of your leg.

Holding each of the aforementioned four stretches (left leg straight, left leg bent, right leg straight, right leg bent) for two minutes is the secret to healing. In case you’ve never timed your stretches, holding a single position for two minutes will likely seem like an eternity. I’d speculate that the most devoted stretching enthusiasts might never hold a single stretch for than 10-20 seconds. Even the most deliberate of yoga classes won’t hold you in a single position for that long. As I mentioned, I had devotedly stretched my lower legs and feet in assorted ways for years in the tug-of-war against my condition, but never held any single stretch for so long.

Why Two Minutes?

When you hold a stretch for two minutes, you are sending a powerful message to your musculoskeletal and central nervous systems to lengthen the relevant muscle fibers. Witness ballerina dancers stretching for hours every day in order to maintain optimal muscle function for their demanding efforts—constantly reinforcing the message to brain and tissue that they need to by hyper-flexible.

This process of lengthening a muscle is complex but important to understand. If you listen to or read the Nutritious Movement commentary from noted biomechanist and author Katy Bowman, you may be familiar with the term proprioceptors. These are the nerve endings that help your muscles communicate with your central nervous system. When your proprioceptors detect a muscle fiber being stretched, something called the stretch reflex is triggered. This reflex causes a stretched muscle to contract—an excellent safeguard against injury during assorted day-to-day activities, including fitness activities and sports.

After a workout in which muscles have repeatedly contracted or absorbed impact, holding a few stretches for twenty seconds will send a nice little message to the fibers to relax and loosen up a bit as you transition from a state of exertion to relaxation. Then the stretch reflex kicks in, you experience a little discomfort, and end the stretch. When you go big time, work through the possibly uncomfortable stretch reflex sensation, and hold the muscle in a stretched position, you start to make some real progress. Here the proprioceptors in the stretched muscle, known as the muscle spindles, become habituated to the new length of the muscle such that the stretch reflex is muted. Instead, when specific thresholds of stretching frequency, intensity and duration are exceeded, a lengthening reaction occurs in the muscle. Here the muscles relax and allow you to deepen into the stretch. If you have ever been to a yoga class and noticed you can take stretches much deeper after you are warmed up and habituated with repeated stretches, you may know what this lengthening reaction feels like.

When your muscles relax due to the lengthening reaction, another key player on your healing team jumps into action: the golgi tendon organ. This is located in the tendon near the end of a muscle. It sends a message to your central nervous system, essentially: “Hey, this dude is sick of suffering with plantar fasciitis for 17 years. He wants some longer calf muscles for Christmas, so please comply.” Enjoy this much more detailed and scientific discussion of the science of muscle stretching.

Tips For Adopting the Healing Protocol

If you want to heal quickly, strive to quickly work up to doing the wall stretch protocol several times a day (shoot for five times or more). As described previously, this will take all of eight minutes per session: two stretches on two legs for two minutes each. An aggressive stretching regimen will, in a matter of days, greatly relieve the stress on your arch and heel caused in large part by shortened muscles that don’t absorb impact optimally.

Because of the high degree of difficulty with two-minute stretches, you can expect some next day soreness. Take care to stretch only the point of mild discomfort instead of actual pain. This may mean you have to back off a bit during your wall push to survive until the two-minute bell. You will also likely discover that you will be able to hold a much deeper stretch in the evening than in the morning, and more easily reach the two-minute bell. Alas, doing these stretches first thing in the morning when your muscles are the shortest is critical to your progress. So is doing them as many times per day as you are willing. Remember, we are trying to work beyond the stretch reflex and achieve a lengthening reaction.

You may even consider getting the legendary Strassburg sock to assist your healing process. This device, a sock with a strap attached, places your ankle in a flexed position all night, putting the plantar fascia under tension so that it does not contract and cause the painful morning stiffness. Instead, you wake up with an elongated plantar fascia much like the afternoon version that feels much better to walk on than the morning version. Again, the sock is best used in conjunction with an aggressive healing protocol.

Please keep in mind this prolonged stretching protocol is designed for injury prevention/healing, and is not advisable right before a workout. You may have heard prominent accounts of how static stretching can temporarily weaken a muscle for up to 30 minutes, and this is a valid concept. After all, you are about to demand intense contractions from your muscles for the workout, so aggressive pre-workout stretching is not the best way to prime them for action. Instead, do a simple warmup—increasing body temperature and respiration to the extent that you break a little sweat.

Watch this video where I describe the power of the wall stretch to heal plantar fasciitis and direct you to do the stretches correctly.

Mobilizing Lower Extremities

Concurrent with your commitment to prolonged calf stretches is a commitment to achieve increased mobility and flexibility in the foot and leg, via a series of special movements and treatment modalities with colorful nicknames. If you’re in the Crossfit scene or otherwise a fan of Dr. Kelly Starrett, aka “K-Starr,” you might be familiar with some of the unique and colorful terminology—terms like bashing, tacking and mobilizing—that have become his custom lexicon and spread like wildfire into the fitness community. K-Starr is a former elite level whitewater kayak athlete, proprietor of San Francisco CrossFit, creator of the popular MobilityWOD.com website, and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard—perhaps the most comprehensive volume on mobility, flexibility, functionality, healing and prevention for athletic folks ever in the history of the world. Visit MobilityWOD.com to get a free 10-day dose of Kelly and his highly engaging, informal, and humorous style with which he conveys his unique and effective approach.

K-Starr is a big fan of using toys like massage balls, golf balls, lacrosse balls, foam rollers, voodoo straps (try this Voodoo Floss treatment for plantar fasciitis) and even elbows in an aggressive and focused manner to increase blood flow, improve range of motion, and facilitate healing in muscles and connective tissue. Once your mobility improves, you then have a fighting chance at exhibiting correct functional movement during exercise and daily life (e.g., running with a balanced center of gravity over your feet and an efficient dorsiflexion of the foot on each stride), such that you won’t be doomed to a lifetime of repeating injuries, both acute and overuse.

Regarding plantar fasciitis, Starrett recommends attacking the cause by working to increase mobility, flexibility, and functionality throughout the lower extremities. You can check out his full suggested regimen on YouTube.

Complete the prolonged stretching plus mobility work protocol several times a day until the pain and stiffness are nearly when you awaken in the morning. Then you can shift into maintenance mode where you might do the stretches once or twice a day instead of five to seven times a day. And you might do your bashing, tacking and mobilizing only in the aftermath of tough workouts when you experience next-day stiffness.

Your main objective is to prevent the shortening and lost mobility that laid the foundation for plantar fasciitis in the first place. 

Look for Brad’s follow-up post on preventing plantar fasciitis from setting in (or re-occurring) later in just a couple weeks. In the meantime, give your focus to the treatment, and let these stretches do their magic. Thanks again to my friend, Brad Kearns, for stopping in and sharing his experience today.

Again, you can follow Brad on his new podcast, Get Over Yourself, where he gets to unleash his lively personality and cover broader topics including health, fitness, peak performance, personal growth, relationships, happiness, and longevity, always with humor and a little spice.

Thanks, everybody. Be sure to share your thoughts and questions on plantar fasciitis below. Have a great end to your week.

Resources/References:

Dr. Phil Maffetone and Dr. Mark Cucuzella, How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis Naturally (pdf booklet)
Hal Walter, How to Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis Naturally

Phil Maffetone and Dr. Frykman, barefoot running podcast

Dr. Kelly Starrett Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis, Fix Your Feet

The Physiology of Stretching

Stretching: The Truth

Strassburg Sock

Voodoo Floss ankle and calf

TAGS:  Aging, mobility, videos

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

39 thoughts on “How To Cure Plantar Fasciitis”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Wow I wish I had this article years ago
    Here are my two cents on what worked for me:

    On stairs, just put the ball of the foot on a step and stay for some time (like two minutes).
    Repeat daily at least two times a day
    I have been completely cured for some years, and I do everything barefoot (excepting my time at work).
    I even do zumba sessions barefoot!

  2. After trying stretching, rolling & icing to no avail, I bought a plastic boot on Amazon for $20 that works like the sock; holding your foot flexed while you sleep. I have to admit, it was a bit clunky in bed and resulted in some sacrifices in other areas (e’hem), but it was well worth it. I felt almost instant relief and I am now ‘cured’!

    For me, the boot combined with many of the treatments outlined above solved my very painful case of plantar fasciitis. Try it!

    1. My experience was the same — as soon as I started using the brace at night, my symptoms got much better. Then it was months of icing, stretching, rolling, etc. But mobilizing the flexed foot at night was the biggest revelation.

      Helpful article, MDA. Thanks!

    2. Same her, I also used the boot, it helped (I forgot about it)

  3. I had sore feet sometimes back in the latter years of elementary school (maybe due to cross country training) and my doctor’s advice (one of the few, if it was even a few, good things she told me) was to do a simple foot stretch similar to what’s described in this article that went as follows:
    stand close to a wall facing it with one heel on the ground and your toes on that foot up on the wall, the other foot flat. Adjust your position until you feel a stretch in the foot that’s on the wall. It seemed to help.

  4. Hang on, isn’t the stretch description the wrong way round anatomically speaking? I’ve always been told that bent knee calf stretching targets the soleus.

    1. You are correct. Bending the knee helps isolate the soleus but to stretch the gastrocnemius, the knee needs to be straight (as it crosses the knee joint but the soleus does not).

  5. I was plagued with PF for years. I discovered 5 fingers 10 years ago. I ditched my orthotics and within 6 months of transitioning from a heel striker to slowly becoming a “primal” runner my PF disappeared, so did my knee and hip problems!!! I have not had a issue since and I only run in 5 fingers or Xero sandals
    Grok on
    Rob

  6. Awesome, thank you, I will give his protocol a try! I have been dealing with p.f. on and off for many years now! I might give the sock strap a try to as I tend to “point” my foot alot, and tense up my calf muscles!

  7. This protocol is right on the money, I think. As a professional massage therapist of 25 years, I have unfortunately seen too many athletes with this condition. The cure as I was taught by one of the foremost trainers in the business (who happened to be a licensed massage therapist also) is too target the soleus. muscle. His technique is known simply as “muscle stripping” . Its quite painful at first but very effective and similar to stretches outlined here but perhaps quicker. The therapist works from the soleus down toward the achilles in long, slow strokes. If done correctly it can usually fix the problem efficiently. It isn’t always pleasant, as I said, but this is a fairly straightforward problem to fix as musculo-skeletal conditions go. I was taught that the golgi tendon response seems to be aggravated by static stretching whereas a deep pressure massage in the opposite direction (soleus to heel) is more effective.

    1. “Muscle stripping” has a nice ring to it. You can also perform this technique on oneself by practicing 10-day, water only fasting.

  8. From my own experience rehabing people with acute to chronic plantar fasciitis at a foot and ankle clinic, and from the research, there are several factors to a good recovery. Prior to addressing local causes, radicular pain should be ruled out. If it is truly PF: 1. Decrease systemic inflammation through diet 2. Acute relief of symptoms with ice at the site of pain, 3. Increase calf length (if necessary) and decrease calf muscle guarding/adhesions (as necessary) 3. Address biomechanics of the foot. In some with good midfoot locking/unlocking it’s often necessary to strengthen intrinsic muscles with barefoot weight bearing activities. In someone without midfoot locking mechanism, artificial arch support is unfortunately also necessary etc 4. More proximal biomechanical issues also need to be addressed. There isn’t really a one size fits all way to get rid of this. As a side note, aggressively massaging on the spot of pain often helps to relieve pain at the time followed by increased symptoms the next day, resulting in a vicious cycle. Careful addition of this kind of massage can be ok though

    1. Thank you for writing this. I have read other comments on this site vilifying orthotics in the past. What people need to understand is that for some people orthotics are truly necessary because they have biomechanical issues in their feet. They are like glasses -they won’t change the structure of your foot but they allow it to function in a more normal fashion. If you have ever seem an elderly person that can hardly walk because their foot is so turned they are almost walking on their ankle, you’ve seen someone that should have had either an orthotic, brace or surgery to correct biomechanical issues when they were younger. Orthotics themselves are not bad, but they are overused at times. And there is a big difference between getting a custom orthotic made and an over the counter one, even if it is one of those places that has you step on a mat and tells you your foot structure.

  9. Kind of weird that this article didn’t mention the easiest step: changing your shoes. I had plantat fasciitis synptoms several years ago, and figured out that my New Balance sneakers were too narrow. Buying a new brand, avoiding any dress shoes with a heel, and rolling a tennis ball under my foot daily fixed the problem for good.

  10. Hmm, I left a comment but it didn’t work, so here goes again:

    I find it odd that this article didn’t mention changing your footwear. I had plantar fasciitis several years ago, and what worked for me was changing my brand of sneakers, as I guess what I was wearing wasn’t working.

    I also stopped wearing any dress shoes with even a low heel (I never wore high heels), and rolled my heel on a tennis ball daily. No problems since.

    1. That’s great a shoe change healed you – very lucky! As I mentioned in the article, I tried all manner of shoes, from super padded to Vibrams, with no luck. Ditto for many other runners

    2. Hi Margaret, that’s great your condition was improved by changing shoes. I mentioned in the article how I tried all kinds of shoes, from super-padded to Vibrams, with no luck. Same for many other runners.

  11. Hi, that video helped my brother with plantar fasciitis. Me on the other hand have pain on the ball of feet. From what I googled it seems like Morton’s neuroma or Metatarsalgia, basically I have a pain on the ball of the right foot, somewhere in the middle, sometimes it feels like I have an annoying little rock in a shoe. I had to stop running, hiking and walking long distances, but I’m still doing weightlifting. I’m wearing kinda flat shoes (converse, vans or similar to them) with orthopaedic pads doctor suggested to me which make it a bit more comfortable to walk. I also tried some feet strengthening exercises, but it didn’t help.
    I would be really thankful for any advice, miracle stretch 🙂 or anything.

    1. I had the same! My answer was switching to a shoe with a wider forefoot and six sessions of acupuncture.

  12. After suffering Plantar Fasciitis for months during a very physically demanding training period, I started wearing Birkenstock sandals at the end of the day (from 5 PM until bed time).

    Plantar Fasciitis was gone in no time. I didn’t stop training or otherwise change my regimen.

    I swear by those ugly things.

    1. I had the same results with Crocs only I would start my day with them on.

  13. I have suffered from plantar fasciitis in the past… and it is horribly painful. Am I correct that you are saying to do these exercises twice a day to prevent plantar fasciitis from returning? Twice a day for the full 8 minute routine? Thanks.

  14. Awesome article, I battled PF for 8 years, tried everything, I’m now 8 weeks po. I had PF, Baxter Nerve, Tarcell Tunnel Release, Achilles and calf tendon extension and bone spur removed. It was brutal to say the least, but the pain I had before surgery is gone, the pain I have now I just from physical therapy. I started walking today without crutches, not sure if I want to ever run again, I was running about 50 miles a week. What are the chances of all of this coming back if I did start running, I won’t even be able to run for at least another year, thinking of cycling instead. Any thoughts. Thank you

    1. It depends on what type of plantar fascia surgery you had done. Often, the Achilles lengthening alone will relieve the symptoms and help prevent it from coming back. I see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to run once you are done with your post op recovery.

  15. Would this work for slightly dodgy Achilles tendons? I’d love it if it did! My Achilles are very bad. To be fair my entire ankle complex is a mess. I’ve strained the tendons so often…

  16. I was another sufferer. the podiatrist wanted me to wear orthotics, but I wasn’t happy about that. It was a band-aid, and I did a LOT of research on what to do. My solution was to ditch my shoes. I spend a whole winter walking, and then running, barefoot on the treadmill. All the little muscles and tendons in my feet responded and strengthened. the skin on the bottom of your feet toughen up in a matter of days. Its really quite amazing. My feet actually grew. When spring came I ditched my high heeled running shoes, and got Altras. Zero drop, wide toebox, and enough cushion to handle running on pavement. My stride is different, landing midfoot now. All the supporting muscles have to fire. I also quit wearing my narrow toe, heeled dress shoes to work. All my shoes are now more like moccasins. Altra makes nice shoes, as do VivoBarefoot and Merrell Vaporgloves. Running on pavement is just too hard without some cushion, but the principles still apply. It has worked wonders for me, and I’ll never go back.

  17. I will give this a try. I have had PF for 15-20 years and have tried everything. I finally got about 80% relief on one foot with high concentration(Hc) PRP that has lasted 5 years. Regular PRP gave minimal relief that did not last. That HcPRP cost $1500 (CDN) but I would do it again if I still lived in the area where it was available. I will try extended stretching first.

  18. A few yers ago I got this. Luckly, I was telling a friend and he told me what I had. He said to buy a set of HTP inserts. I got them and with in two days the pain was totally gone.
    Have used the inserts two times since them with equally good results

    1. I used HTP inserts too and they are amazing – the pain was gone in no time.

  19. Great article!!
    Being an ART (Active Release Technique) Instructor in California I see this condition in my clinic several times a week.
    I Really appreciate your detailed explanation addressing some of the causes of this painful condition. You have put together a number of important facts about why and WHEN we should stretch using the static stretch method.
    My only bit of information that I can add is all of my research shows that the muscles being stretched in your article are in reverse order. In other words, when you first stretch against the wall with your knee Straight you are actually stretching your Gastrocnemius and when you bend your knee you have relaxed the gastroc and are now stretching your soleus.

    Thanks again for a great article.

  20. Interesting article. I’ve started essentrics dynamic stretching partly due to plantar pain. Omg. What a difference. If I’m diligent it helps so much. No more hobbling. I’ll give this 8 minute series a shot though. Easier to pull off during the day.

  21. Before you start giving “professional” advice you should consult a copy of “Grey’s Anatomy” and learn what the “Fascia” really is.
    “The plantar fascia is a super-strong ligament that runs the length of the bottom of your foot.” is a TOTALLY incorrect statement and indicates that you really don’t know what you are talking about!

    1. Dude! you get a point score reduction for the tone of your message. Everyone at MarksDailyApple.com is super open and receptive to critical feedback from the audience. With the Primal Health Coach course curriculum, numerous students were extremely helpful in helping us to refine, better explain, and outright correct some of the content.

      As it happens, my source for that exact statement is the fleet, wise and powerful Dr. Mark Cucuzella, author of Run For Your Life and one of the world’s leading authorities on running, running injury prevention, and plantar fasciitis. (DrMarksDesk.com)

      Here is an excerpt from the fantastic pdf “how to treat plantar fascitis naturally” available on PhilMaffetone.com:

      What Is Plantar Fasciitis? (by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella)
      First, what are the Plantar Fascia
      The plantar fascia (PF) is a strong ligament that runs from the heel to the metatarsal heads in the front of your foot. This ligament helps absorb the shock that occurs when your foot contacts the ground. It has function in the windlass mechanism recreating the arch on takeoff.

      ***
      Okay Bruce Born, lemme know what you think of Dr. Mark’s characterization, and how I may have messed it up. We can edit the post accordingly with your help! I did the best I could with this article and hope that it can help many runners. I don’t claim to be a “professional” at anything other than Speedgolf.

  22. I have also experienced this condition post natally with two of my children, which took around 1 year to resolve.

  23. Thank you ?? I have always had jobs where I’m on my feet all day and suffered foot pain on and off for years. After tearing my miniscus and shattering the cartilage in my knee resulting in less mobility it got worse. A partial knee replacement later, and my feet were sorer than ever. I was hobbling everywhere. My PT tried acupuncture but the pain was so intense I couldn’t go on with it. Now I try not to stay still for too long, the knee stiffens up and my feet hurt otherwise. Tomorrow morning I will be putting this into practise. Thank you again, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  24. Thank you for this! It’s only been a few days, but my foot feels better. I’ve had this for 3 years now. Working on hard concrete floors for 8hrs/day in a kitchen. I decided to go back to school to change careers to one where I’m not standing all day. I’ve always been very active, but because of this, all I do is bike and weights. I tried PT and hours of foot/calf exercises, massage, chiro, shockwave, graston, accupuncture, strasbourg sock, toe separators, golf balls, foot soaks, foot rollers, custom orthotics…nothing got rid of the pain. My podiatrist was insisting on cortisone, which I was against. I’m glad I didn’t take that route, as I see you chose against it too. Just wondering where your second video is that you mention about the transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle?

  25. Been trying this for over a week (since the blog was published) and my feet have gotten worse. I fully believe that the issue is my calf muscles being overly tight but it’s almost like the stretching strains my feet and aggravates the pain. Anyone else experience worsened pain before it improved? I want to keep going since the recommendation was 2 weeks at least.