8 Yoga Poses to Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that occurs when the thick band of tissue in the bottom of your foot—called the plantar fascia—becomes inflamed. This condition typically causes sharp pain on your heel at the base of your arch, especially when you put weight on your foot.

The best way to relieve pain from plantar fasciitis is by stretching your fascia and muscles in your foot and calf. Yoga poses are an effective way to stretch these structures.

This article discusses yoga poses that can be performed at home to stretch your fascia and muscles to reduce pain caused by plantar fasciitis, as well as other treatments for this condition.

Man doing yoga

ljubaphoto / Getty Images

Yoga Poses for Plantar Fasciitis

Yoga poses that stretch the plantar fascia target the bottom of the foot and your calf muscles. Tightness in these muscles has been shown to contribute to plantar fasciitis. Yoga is an effective way to improve your flexibility and decrease pain.

Perform these poses in comfortable clothing, on a thin mat, and in bare feet. Hold each pose for several breaths, or between 30 and 60 seconds:

Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

  1. Stand up straight with your big toes touching and a small amount of space between your heels. Press into the ground with your heels, outer borders of your feet, and your big toes.
  2. Tighten your quadriceps muscles at the front of your thighs.
  3. Rotate your arms until your palms face your body.
  4. Slowly raise both arms out to the sides and overhead. Keep your elbows straight.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades downward.
  6. Bring your hands together overhead, if you can do so while keeping your elbows straight. Otherwise, keep them in line with your shoulders.
  7. Tilt your chin up and look at your fingertips.

Upward Salute Modification

If you have difficulty with your balance, stand with your feet hip-width apart rather than with your big toes touching. If your shoulder movement is limited, reach out to your sides at a height that is comfortable.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Spread your toes apart and press into the ground with the outer edge of your feet and big toes.
  2. Inhale and raise both arms overhead with your palms facing each other. Keep your elbows straight.
  3. As you exhale, bend your knees and slowly lower as if you are going to sit in a chair. Keep your chest up and body weight centered over your heels.
  4. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground (or sooner if more comfortable).
  5. Hold for several breaths.

High Lunge

  1. Stand up straight with your feet together and arms resting at your sides.
  2. Step your left foot back toward the corner of your mat. At the same time, bend your right knee to 90 degrees. Keep your right knee in line with your ankle.
  3. Place the ball of your left foot on the ground with your heel pointed toward the ceiling and knee straight.
  4. Lift both arms overhead, with your palms facing each other.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tabletop to Toe Pose

  1. Begin in tabletop position—on your hands and knees, with your hands in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.
  2. Tuck your toes under and slowly walk your hands back toward your knees.
  3. Lift your chest and sit back on your heels with your hands resting on your knees.

Screaming Toe Pose

The Toe Pose is sometimes called the "Screaming Toe Pose," and for good reason. This pose places a significant amount of stretch along the bottoms of your feet. Early on, you might need to hold this pose with your hands resting on the ground in front of you rather than attempting to sit back on your heels.

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.
  2. Curl your toes under and press down through your palms as you straighten your knees and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Keep your spine straight.
  3. Tighten your quadriceps muscles on the front of your thighs.
  4. Press down through your heels.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

  1. Sit with your legs out straight and your hands resting on the ground on either side of your body.
  2. Pull your toes toward you and push away with your heels.
  3. Hinge at your hips and walk your hands toward your feet as far as you comfortably can. Keep your spine straight. If you are able, grab onto the sides of your feet.

Savasana with Feet Against Wall

  1. Lie down on your back with your legs slightly more than hip-width apart.
  2. Place your feet flat against the wall.
  3. Rest your arms away from your sides, palms up.
  4. Close your eyes and relax the muscles throughout your body.
  5. Remain in this position for 10 minutes.

Garland Pose Modification

If you can't squat low enough to perform this pose, place a folded blanket under your heels.

Garland Pose (Malasana)

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than your hips. Turn your toes out slightly.
  2. Squat as low as you can, bringing your hips lower than your knees.
  3. Bring your palms together in front of you and place each elbow on the inside of your knees.

What Other Treatments Help Plantar Fasciitis?

While stretching exercises are an important part of treatment for plantar fasciitis, other steps can also help reduce your symptoms. These include:

  • Physical therapy: In addition to teaching you exercises, a physical therapist can help determine factors that contribute to your condition, such as the shoes you wear, activities you participate in, and weakness in other parts of your body that affect the way you walk. Physical therapists can also use other treatments, such as dry needling and low-level laser therapy, to address your symptoms.
  • Inserts: Shoe inserts, called orthotics, can support your plantar fascia and reduce pain. Inserts can be purchased over-the-counter, but you might have better luck with those that are custom-made for your feet.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as Aleve (naproxen), Advil (ibuprofen), and Bayer (aspirin), can help reduce inflammation and pain caused by plantar fasciitis. In some cases, prescription-strength medications, such as oral steroids, might help.
  • Steroid injection: Steroid medications can be injected into your foot to treat inflammation from plantar fasciitis. However, this can be done only a few times in total. And the injections must be spread out over several months or more. Too many steroids can cause damage to your fascia.
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT): This treatment delivers ultrasound waves through the skin into the affected area in the bottom of your foot.
  • Night splint: Your plantar fascia can become tight while you sleep. Many people with plantar fasciitis have significant pain with their first few steps out of bed as the ligament is stretched. A night splint can be worn to hold your ankle in a position that stretches this structure at night.
  • Surgery: As a last resort, surgery is sometimes performed for plantar fasciitis. However, this is not always effective and can lead to additional complications such as scar tissue and permanent damage to your fascia.

When To See a Doctor

If you've been performing yoga poses for your plantar fasciitis but continue to have symptoms after a week or two, see a doctor.

Summary

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation or irritation of a large ligament that supports the arch of your foot. Yoga poses help stretch the fascia and muscles in your feet and legs that contribute to this condition. Other treatments for plantar fasciitis include physical therapy, medications, night splints, and orthotics.

A Word From Verywell

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful, and left untreated, it can significantly affect your ability to walk. Be proactive and address your symptoms early. Even with treatment, this condition can take several months to improve.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What exercises should I avoid with plantar fasciitis?

    Avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on your feet, such as standing for long periods of time, walking longer distances, and running when you're recovering from plantar fasciitis.

  • How long does it take for plantar fasciitis to go away?

    Even with proper treatment, it can take several months for plantar fasciitis symptoms to go away.

  • Is walking barefoot good for plantar fasciitis?

    If walking barefoot increases your pain, avoid this activity as much as possible until your symptoms improve.

Was this page helpful?
3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs.

  2. Yoga International. Yoga for plantar fasciitis.

  3. Rhim HC, Kwon J, Park J, Borg-Stein J, Tenforde AS. A systematic review of systematic reviews on the epidemiology, evaluation, and treatment of plantar fasciitisLife (Basel). 2021;11(12):1287. doi:10.3390%2Flife11121287.