Plantar fasciitis causes severe pain, especially in the heel, due to an overuse injury, affecting the sole of the foot. Having plantar fasciitis means the tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes has been inflamed. This usually starts gradually with discomfort at the heel bone. This is typically felt after exercise. Typically, the pain occurs in the morning or after a long period of sitting. Doing exercises is a good way to improve this condition. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, stretching exercises are often the best way to go to treat plantar fasciitis. Stretch the Achilles Tendon Stretching the Achilles Tendon is a great way to reduce the chance of reoccurance of plantar fasciitis. To do this, lean forward against a stable surface with one leg straight back with the heel on the ground. It is vital to keep the leg and knee fully extended on the heel that is being stretched. The other leg is bent at the knee. Leaning forward will stretch the heel cord and the arch of the foot. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then relax and stand up straight. Repeat this exercise 20 times per heel. Stretch the Heel Cords Another way to exercise this condition is to lean forward onto a stable counter top. While doing this, put one foot in front of the other and spread your feet apart. While flexing your knees, squat down slightly, while keeping your heels touching the ground for as long as possible into the stretch. The heel cords as well as the foot arches will stretch when the heels lift up in the stretch. Hold this pose for 10 seconds, then slowly relax and stand up straight. Repeat this exercise 20 times. Calf Stretching in Bed The first few steps out of bed in the morning can reaggravate this condition, which then puts you into the cycle of pain and inflammation. This can be prevented by stretching your calf before getting out of bed in the morning. When calf muscles are tight, they make plantar fascia taut by pulling on the heel bone. To stretch the calves and help loosen the muscles, use a towel or a belt and place it around the ball of your foot. Gently pull your leg towards your body while keeping your leg straight. This will create a stretch in the lower leg. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat this up to five times before getting up. Strengthening Berkeley University recommends strengthening the foot in order to improve plantar fasciitis. Do single leg toe curls by placing a towel under the foot. Slowly bunch up the towel, one foot at a time, with just the toes. This strengths the foot and lessens the chances for plantar fasciitis.