Video – Self Massage for Plantar Fascia Pain

Today’s self massage video deals with preventing pain that is common with Plantar Fasciitis.  These are techniques that will help to warm the tissue and musculature in preparation for running, dancing or activities that stress the plantar fascia of the foot.  If you feel that you have a serious medical condition or pain that has been severe in nature you should always consult your primary care provider for proper diagnosis.

Plantar Fasciitis

Causes – Overuse due to overtraining, poor technique, running on hard surfaces or prolonged standing and activities that require ankle plantarflexion and simultaneous extension of the metatarsophalangeal joints (see photo below) such as running and dancing.  The symptoms often occur after a major or rapid adjustment to a training program.

The foot on the ground is in plantar flexion of the ankle joint and hyperextension of the toes.

Acute Phase – 

Pain occurring from days to weeks.  Rest is indicated (no weight bearing if plantar fasciitis is severe), ice (fascia on bottom of foot) and elevate the affected foot as much as possible.

Chronic Phase –

  • Rest from aggravating activities.  If it hurts you are likely making it worse.  Return to activity is gradual, beginning with weight bearing activities.
  • Ice is applied if inflammation is present to control inflammation and after activities that cause pain.
  • Heat is applied to the posterior leg compartment before activity.  Self-massage is performed to the posterior compartment and plantar fascia.
  • Active stretching post exercise helps to maintain length in the posterior leg compartment and associated musculature.
  • Strengthening intrinsic muscles of the foot by scrunching up a towel or picking up pencils with the toes!
  • Referral for orthotics may be necessary to maintain adequate support and flexibility.  Referral may also be necessary for physical therapy.
  • Always consult your doctor or preferred health care provider for proper diagnosis!

I had a question from a reader about how far up to work on the muscle, Flexor Digitorum Longus which you access when working just behind or medial to the Tibia.  I’ve inserted a photo below which shows just how high up both the Flexor Digitorum Longus and the Tibialis Posterior come.  To be sure you are on Flexor Digitorum Longus, flex or curl your toes and you should be able to feel the muscle fibers fire underneath your fingertip. It will necessary to click and enlarge the image to see it clearly.  I hope this helps!

FDL andTibialis Posterior
A helpful view of Flexor Digitorum Longus and also Tibialis Posterior. Keep in mind that the superficial Gastrocnemius and Soleus are cut away in this drawing.

All references above from Clinical Massage Therapy, 2000, Rattray and Ludwig, Talus Incorporated, Toronto, Canada



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20 Replies to “Video – Self Massage for Plantar Fascia Pain”

  1. This is the third article, of your website I personally browsed.

    Nevertheless I personally love this specific 1, “Video –
    Self Massage for Plantar Fascia Pain | Raining Faith Massage” the most.

    Thanks ,Poppy

  2. Hey Matthew,

    I have a question for you….when you were pressing into the muscle below the tibia how much pressure do you use and how far up do you go?
    The video was very helpful thanks for sharing!! 🙂


    • Hi Kristin,

      Thank you for viewing video. Here is a wiki link to one of the muscles, Flexor Digitorum Longus, that you access just behind the Tibia.

      Also, in the post above I’ve inserted a photo of Flexor Digitorum Longus and also Tibialis Posterior. Keep in mind that in the photo the superficial Gastrocnemius and Soleus have been cut away to display the deeper musculature. To be sure you are on the Flexor Digitorum Longus wiggle, curl or flex your toes and you should be able to feel the muscle fibers underneath your fingertips as you palpate the muscle.

  3. thank you for this great video Matthew. I’m not a runner but developed a Mortons neuroma after shoveling a very large snowfall a year ago in N.D. As a result plantars has developed and the other foot has a neuroma in the ball of the foot too. It hurts to walk on any part of my foot! Its hard to find effective self massage. Ive been to the foot doc, therapist, chiro, and had orthos made and still have intense pain. Custom orthos made my feet hurt worse. I gave them 2 wks off and on and feel more relief withou them. Next wek im lined up for the human performance ctr where focused massage and ultra sound are done. I have high hopes for relief. In following along with you i could feel referred pain or pins and needles even in my toes. the pain let up in my heels as well which built up after cleaning house today. I hardly made it ot the couch to google “self massage for plantars.” Thanks again for helping me with this pain!

  4. I meant to ask you Matthew, how often could i massage these muscles safely each day? These would work better than stretches with the towel first thing in the morning. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for viewing the video and commenting Valerie! As long as you don’t appear to be aggravating the condition you could use these daily. I often recommend them to my clients that are runners as part of a warm up routine. It is important to note that a warm up is much different than stretching. In this case warming up means that you are literally warming up the muscle and tissue to prepare for an activity. In this case, it might be the first steps of the morning as you get out of bed. Over time, the muscle should begin to resolve of issues and the frequency would be diminished. Working closely with a good massage therapist or physical therapist is helpful as they can guide you along in your recovery. I hope this helps and that things get better.

      In good health!


  5. Hi Matt, I always enjoy watching your videos. I deal with this pain daily. I have to get occasional foot massages to deal with it. Wish you were close by.

  6. Thank you so much. Been having planter fasciitis pain and really wanted some techniques for self massage. My leg and heel feel warm, like the bloods running through them. I really appreciate finding this.

    • You are very welcome. Thanks for viewing and commenting on the video. It’s always wonderful to have positive feedback! Best wishes and I hope things begin healing for you.


  7. Hi-
    I landed on your page after 2 years (yup) of PF just killing me. I farm, Im 53, a woman and so am quite strong but am losing my strength, endurance and quality of life from this issue. As I am living in chronic pain.

    I have had cortisone shots as well as PT & stretches, ices, yoga, foot massage, kenetic taping, and am only 5 days after my last cortisone shot and am already back in pain. So found your video.

    My complaint with the Dr is that my whole leg hurts and the hamstring stretches are doing nothing at all except inflaming it more. Yoga stretching is less painful…..

    How often would you suggest doing this massage? once a day? Early morning due to the pain being so bad then and evening?

    • Hi Connie,

      Thanks for checking out the video and asking questions. I’m sorry to hear about your pain, it seems you have endured long term chronic pain and I know it must be debilitating.

      I would suggest trying the self massage first thing before you get out of bed and also try these movement exercise in conjunction with that. You could also do it again later in the day. It is a safe enough technique that it can only help, but it shouldn’t make things worse.

      Also, I generally avoid doing a lot of work on the bottom of the foot. I especially avoid putting ice there because I feel that it makes thick, dense tissue less flexible and creates more stiffness and pain. As I work with clients I thoroughly work the lower leg musculature and probably 85% of the people find relief over time. However, there are always cases such as yours that can be very resistant. Good luck and you can always contact me directly at for more assistance and questions.

      In good health,


  8. OH. MY. GOD! I’ve had plantar fascitiis since Nov 2014. I’ve tried it all from chirp to Chinese medicine to massage. I tried the method in your vid and instant relief! I’ll definitely be continuing this treatment. Thank you!

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