Learn the ONE Stretch That Relieves Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints, Achilles Pain, Heel Pain, and Compartment Syndrome

If you have tight calves (and if you’re active you probably have tight calves) then your body will thank you for doing this stretch.

First let me say that while this is a SUPER powerful stretch, it’s not a FULL solution for any of the following. With that said, it’s the best possible one-off solution I can give you right now, and if you do this daily for a week I would be shocked if you don’t feel significantly better for any or all of these:

This ONE technique can address ALL kinds of issues:

  • Plantar fasciitis, or pain on the bottoms of the feet
  • Shin splints
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Heel Pain
  • Achilles tendinitis, pain or tightness
  • Scar tissue build-up from past sprained or broken ankles (which can lead to ankle immobility and compensation patterns up your entire chain)
  • Limited range of motion in the ankles
  • Knee Pain
  • Tendonitis on the tops of the feet (usually originating in the shins, so if this is you then focus on pinning your tibialis anterior or shin muscle more than calf)

And if you’re looking for the right foam roller to do the job, I recommend this Medium Density Foam Roller. Or if you’re feeling a little more daring, try out this High Density Foam Roller. Full disclosure, these are affiliate links. If you’re looking for our comprehensive solution to plantar fasciitis specifically then check out our Break Up With Your PF Course.

This is not my technique, I didn’t invent it. I originally saw Kelly Starret use this to address a tight achilles and low calf, and I’ve been using it to stretch my own calves from top to bottom ever since.

In Kelly’s video he focuses on the shins and achilles, but  I want you to use this technique to pin and stretch ALL of your calf muscles (or rather, the FASCIA in those muscles).

What’s REALLY cool about this stretch is you can actually grab a portion of the soleus (usually very difficult to stretch) when you pin the belly of your calf right where the two heads of the gastroc meet the achilles tendon (as pictured). When you get it just right you’re not just releasing your “calf” muscles (aka your gastrocnemius), you’re releasing the soleus and Achilles tendon at the same time too. You’re even going to affect the perroneals with this, if you do it right.

COACH (that would be me) SAYS:

This is going to be TOUGH. You might not want to make yourself do it. But YOU CAN DO IT! You have to coach yourself through this. And it’s totally worth it.


  • Use as much body-weight as you can stand (but make sure you’re not directly on your shin BONE, that will hurt and not in a good way).
  • Focus on MOVEMENT of your foot more than anything else.
  • When you point your toes (plantar flexion), REALLY point…like a ballerina! This is where the GOLD is. When you rotate, rotate ALL the way. Don’t half-ass your movements or you’ll be robbing yourself of results!
  • I don’t want you massaging the calf with your body weight (that won’t do much of anything, except hurt).
  • Go after MULTIPLE spots. Don’t be afraid to HUNT for the best ones by moving up and down on the calf, by rotating your hips or placing your bottom leg in slightly different positions on the roller. BUT, once you find a good spot, STAY there and move your foot (stop moving your hips or rolling on the roller).
  • Your top leg should always be PARALLEL-ish to the roller with your body weight coming down onto it.
  • Remember…you’re addressing FASCIA not muscle, and fascia needs to be pinned and THEN stretched. The best result happens when you get the fascia to change itself, rather than trying to manipulate it from the outside with force. 
  • Everyone will be a bit different in regards to how long to perform this and how often, but a good general beginner recommendation would be about 30 SECONDS on each spot (that’s plenty if you’re doing it correctly!) and you may find 3-4 spots per calf. I recommend doing this once a day for a week, and then adjust as necessary based on your results.

If you have HEEL PAIN:

Heel pain can be relieved with the above technique, but to eliminate it I recommend you go after your hamstrings. In my private practice I have discovered that most of the time heel pain responds more to hamstring release than the calf release, while plantar fasciitis, Achilles issues, shin splints etc all respond the most to calf work. By all means combine the two for the best result! Click here for my hamstring release technique.

Let me know what you think of “the ONE stretch” and/or the hamstring release, and don’t hesitate to comment or write me if you have questions!

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

* Disclaimer: The contents of this blog and accompanying YouTube channel are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this website is expressly the opinions of each author and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. This is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Links on this website are provided only as an informational resource, and it should not be implied that we recommend, endorse or approve of any of the content at the linked sites, nor are we responsible for their availability, accuracy or content.

  • Buffy Mckeown says:

    I am in tears after trying this because it worked and I’m not hurting (at least for the time being). I can not thank you enough; working had become a nightmare and I had become so discouraged but I can actually “walk” in to my job today without pain. Thank you so much!

  • Frank says:

    After a period of at least 2 years with constant calf, Achilles and foot issues, I realized the wall and heel stretches were nuisance value only.

    These stretches that Elisha presents for fascia issues actually work and I am extremely thankful to her. It’s such a simple thing to do but I have relief now for the first time in 2 years and I can actually play tennis again without wearing some sort of boot or strapping. Forever grateful to you Elisha for putting this out there in the public domain.

  • Jen says:

    I was curious, do you do this stretch only on the outer part of the shin, or do tilt the bottom leg the other way and do the inner part of the shin. I hope that’s clear, I’m not sure what to call all these parts. Thanks!

  • Kirsty Brain says:

    Hi I have extremely soar achillies . Infact I cannot touch them for pain . Will this help eliminate this ?

    • It certainly COULD. Give it a try and let your body tell you the answer 🙂 Also, I would recommend going after your tibialis anterior, as sometimes the shins/peroneals can play a role in Achilles issues. Good luck!

  • Terrie Ann Thompson says:

    Hi I’ve been diagnosed with PF. I’m unable to find anyone that can help me. I have pain in my hip, inner thigh, shin & calf as well. Will PF cause this?

    • Hi Terrie Ann – more than likely all of what you’re experiencing is connected. Sometimes PF is caused by hip instability and a glute muscle not firing. Sometimes hip pain can be caused by foot or gait issues. It can go both ways. I have a course that will help you eliminate PF and plan a course of action for the rest of what you’re experiencing. You can find it here: https://mobilitymasteryacademy.teachable.com/p/break-up-with-your-pf
      Alternatively, I also offer Skype consultations. In one hour I could help you identify the root cause and create a plan for you, using techniques found on Mobility Mastery’s YouTube channel. Good luck! warmly, Elisha

  • Anonymous says:

    Also, past history of sciatica, piriformis syndrome and tailbone pain. I’ve long thought this was all connected, and now it makes sense.. Seriously, how did I or one of my many physios in the past decades not.make the connection and suggest this release technique?

  • Anonymous says:

    Me, currently: Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis at the same time (ouch), with past ITB syndrome and shin splints. Why didn’t I realize I have tight calves? I’m getting fascial release treatments and shockwave therapy from a physiotherapist who knows what she is doing (and deals almost entirely with athletes, which I am not); it’s helping. Nothing is pain-free though, not even doing nothing at all. I will give this a go.

  • […] If I had known then what the next two years would be like…perhaps I would have remained content to help a few hundred thousand people get rid of their plantar fasciitis, and left it at that. (Remember ‘the ONE stretch?”) […]

  • h says:

    Are there any modifications you’d suggestion for working the tibias anterior? Former college hockey player (my heart goes out to the earlier commenter) with compartment syndrome (I passed on the surgery but it’s affected my ability to play again). I just started trying this and holy cow my calves and blow are much tighter than I’d ever imagined.

  • Lauren says:

    OMG I must be super tight. I can’t put all my weight on one leg. I have had issues with PF for several years. Recently I started skating again and it’s gotten bad. worst it’s ever been. For like the first 5-10 mins of skating. I think I sometimes try to clench, or curl my toes inside my skates. So I make myself not do that and it helps. Definitely going to try your rolling technique. Thanks for your video.

  • Becky Rosenbauer says:

    So glad I found this video – I’ve been suffering from plantar faciitis and lateral knee pain for a couple months. This stretch (though pretty difficult to do!) and the one with the hamstring release have eliminated the pain in only a couple days!

  • Mary Vasque says:

    Hi Elisha-
    Can I just say that this stretch was amazing!! My heel has been hurting me so much I’ve been basically walking on one of my toes. I’m a teacher so on my feet all day which makes it real difficult. I’ve tried rolling on a ball, rolling on a cold soda can, stretching on stairs and nothing has worked. I watched your video and tried the stretch three consecutive times. My pain went from an 8 out of 10 to about a 2 instantly that night! The following day I was walking fine! I’ve been doing this stretch each week to make sure things stay loose. Thank you so much for such fantastic information!! I’ve been dealing with this pain for two years and it’s literally just about gone! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Cindy says:

    I know this is an old video but it was the first one that came up in my Google search. My chiropractor told me to use a foam roller to help with heel pain but didn’t really give specific stretches to do. This was amazing and gave immediate relief!! Thank you so much as I’ve been suffering with heel pain for about a month now. I couldn’t even get started running again after my pregnancy due to the pain. Now I can start exercising and lose weight! Thank you again!

  • Mitch says:

    Hello. Im a college hockey player eho had been diagnosed with chronic exertional compartment syndrome in all 4 compartments of both legs…

    I had the bilateral release of my front and sides done last year and it failed.

    3 weeks ago i had an aggresive fasciotomy done on the back and insides on my calves and in 2 more weeks i will be getting a fasciECTOMY on the front and outside.

    I know that CECS is only healed theough surgery but i was wondering if there was any lighter stretching i could be doing or rolling i could do to heal up the process of recovery a bit quicker so i can be ready for the season in time.

    I sont wanna get to out of hand with the rolling as i did that last year and got back to it to early ( i believe) and it was partial to why it failed.

    Thanks for your time and help.

    • Hi Mitch – Sorry to hear you’re experiencing so much pain. With such intense surgeries you’ll no doubt have a lot of scar tissue, which makes anything like rolling, fascial release or massage etc more unpredictable. You can use any of the techniques on this site and use lighter weight or make adjustments as necessary to fit your needs. Without knowing a lot more or being able to work on you personally, it’s difficult for me to give advice given your situation. Surgeries are their own form of trauma I believe, and healing from them can be as challenging as the original injury. I do offer Skype sessions if you want more personalized help from me. Otherwise…good luck and I hope you heal quickly!

  • Doug Munsinger says:

    Hi Elisha, Thanks so much for recording this (and the hamstring release video). I’d been static stretching my calf and got some definite relief from fasciitis, but not enough to feel it was healing. Any stress (heavy calf raises, walking quickly to catch a train, etc) caused further damage. I’d been using an oval ball on the bottom of the foot for the best relief so far, and this takes that many steps further. Thanks again

  • Kell says:

    Hi Elisha, I am a mess with pain and inflammation. I have a plantar fachitis in my left foot, underfoot pain and swollen Achilles in my right, I have weak knees and have had a left left reconstruction (2 years ago) I have used the roller and done your knee pain excercise and OMG… Amazing relief… I tried the plantar stretch but my knees cannot sit back on that angle, I’m working on modifying it slightly to make it work.
    I was hoping you might have a hip flexor stretch using the foam roller and also something that would relieve sciatic toughness in my butt… Told you I am a mess… Lol

  • Ok, in this case I’d definitely add my IT Band, quads and possibly adductor techniques. Basically, the more you can get the natural SPRING back into your fascial system (the entire system, since it’s all connected), the better off you’ll be. But this one technique SHOULD provide significant if not 100% relief. Would love to hear what happens for you a week or two from now!

  • Matt says:

    Hi Elisha, thank you for your reply.

    The pain is there when running, but not walking. Although it is usually tender when I poke around for a few days following running.

    Thanks again

  • Matt says:

    Hi Elisha,

    Thank you for the video. I’ve been suffering from shin splints on the inside of the shin for months, tried resting, strengthening and stretching but nothing seemed to help. Also, I had a stress fracture ruled out by xray and MRI.

    This definitely has loosened up the whole area, will it help the inside of the shin? I’ve only been doing it a few days but it seems to be helping.


    • Hi Matt – Is your shin splint pain present ALL the time, or only when you run? Or walk? or? That may change my answer. I would definitely keep using this one for a week or so and see how it goes. If the pain only happens when you walk or run (or during another sport) it could be due to other areas of your lower body, in which case you could try some of my other techniques. It’s my opinion that pain like shin splints occur because the fascial compartments of the lower body are so dehydrated, stuck together and have lost their SPRING that your bones are taking the brunt of impact during activities. If your pain is present every hour of the day there might be something else going on. I do offer Skype sessions if you want more personalized help with this (you can find out more here https://mobilitymastery.com/skype-sessions/ ) Good luck and keep me posted!

  • Amanda says:

    Do you have anything to help the IT band and sciatica?

  • Tienie says:

    Hi there, I am a cyclist (mountain biker) having done many multistage events.

    i want to get into Xterra and triathlon events, BUT ….

    i have CS, which makes running VERY painful. Will this technique work for me ?

    Thx for the help.

    • Hi Tienie – I would definitely give this a try. With CS there may be other factors involved. I do offer Skype sessions if you think you could benefit from some 1-1 guidance for what you can do on your own. Give this one a try though and let me know what happens!

  • Sarah Schuette says:

    Hi I have had pain in my feet so bad I could not walk. I also have had two total knees done which have left me with heal pain. My calves are also tight

    Right now I cannot get down on the floor maybe with one knee but not the other I would not be able to get back up. Is there another way of doing

    these without getting down to the floor? I do wear special inserts in my shoes that have taken away my heal pain but the tightness in my calves.

    • Hi Sarah – it’s difficult to do this one without getting on the floor. The other modification I have is another technique on the floor but only one leg on the roller. If you’d like to try a video Skype session I may be able to see your limitations via video and help you come up with a solution. I’m sorry this doesn’t work for you! Maybe scroll up through the comments on this post, because other people have had the same issue and came up with their own modifications. Maybe one of them will work for you. Good luck!

  • A Former PT says:

    Fantastic!! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with the world. 🙂

  • Sus Chesmar says:

    Hi Elisha,

    A friend recommended this for my achilles issues and tight calves, but I can’t get my top leg to get into the parallel position due to lack of flexibility. Is there an alternative method I can use? I’d love to loosen my calves up, foam rolling and other static stretches don’t seem to be working so far.

  • Angie S says:


    I NEED to tell you…..
    I ran across this video about 6 months ago. I’m a professional dancer and and dance educator (sometimes teaching 7-8 varied level classes a day in modern dance, ballet, jazz and other forms that require lots of varied kinds of movement). I’m also a CMT. I sustained several ankle injuries as a youth and young adult that eventually rendered my tarsals unstable and led to unpredictable and severe pain along with complete immobility….. and retriggering emotional trauma each time. This was an ongoing experience, every two months or so, for about 6-7 years. I found your video and though, ‘Well, if nothing else, it will help with the chronic calf tension i have from this repeat injury protection.” Elisha……… my symptoms are almost 100% gone. I don’t get caught in severe pain and inability to teach or dance any longer. I’m not terrified to put weight into my foot any more. I don’t worry that my dance career is over. I just want to thank you SO much. Thank you. (And if you have an miracle exercises for SI balance/ chronic glut and hip flexor tension…… please let me know! As you know, after years of foot/ankle imbalance and instability, my SI and the muscles surrounding are not balanced and fully responsive.) I’m so grateful for this video!

  • sas says:

    HI Thanks so much for your video I shared it on my group page Feis mums… my daughter is a dancer and started over last 2 days after doing sport class and running on the treadmill to feel tight at her calfs. I m now worried as a big competition comes up soon that she could injure herself worse. Perhaps you could give me some advice. thanks sas

  • Angela Gabriel says:

    Thanks much, Elisha. I was asking because my 13-year-old daughter who runs cross country and track has compartment syndrome based on her symptoms and the sports chiropractor we’re seeing. (He did not feel we need to do the formalized testing to measure compartment pressures, as he’s treated CS before and her symptoms match.) We’re working with the chiropractor to try to address it nonsurgically, and so when I came across this video it piqued my interest. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond, and will let you know if we do indeed try this and how it goes. Again, many thanks!

  • Angela Gabriel says:

    What results have you seen in patients with chronic exertional compartment syndrome who use this stretch?

    • Hi Angela – In my private practice I’ve worked on clients with compartment syndrome and get great results releasing the lower leg fascia along with everything else: hamstring, quad, ITB, adductor, TFL and plantar fascia. I’ve never worked on someone who came in with anything they described as ‘chronic exertional’ compartment syndrome, probably because it is my understanding this usually happens during or immediately after something like running.

      The majority of people who have written to me or commented on this blog post have heel pain, achilles issues, shin splints or plantar fasciitis. I haven’t heard from anyone trying this for compartment syndrome yet (I’d love to know if it works!) This technique is based on what I do in my private practice that gets the best result as a one-off technique. Releasing EVERYTHING in that leg increases the likelihood of success a great deal for something like compartment syndrome, which (and I am NOT a doctor, this is my opinion) I believe is an overuse issue leading to highly restricted fascia and lack of blood and nerve signals to the lower leg. So opening everything up is important. I would recommend an approach of using this technique PRIOR to whatever typically causes the pain, and at least a day ahead. Better yet, if it were me I’d take a week off and go after the fascia in the entire leg, give it a chance to rest, go for walks every day to let everything mobilize and get blood flowing to the area. Then I’d try whatever activity usually causes it and see what changed.

      Please keep me posted!

  • Joe L. says:

    What size foam roller do you recommend?

    • Hi Joe – for this particular technique I recommend a soft roller, any length will do.

  • Marina says:

    I feel absolutely nothing when I do this?!… and I’m a ballet dancer so my calves are definitely getting used.

    • Hi Marina – it sounds like maybe your calf fascia is already in good shape. Healthy fascia won’t hurt at all when compressed. Or perhaps you’re not doing it correctly. It’s hard for me to say without being there see you try it out! Were you attempting to use this for pain relief like heel pain or PF?

  • Maurice Eley says:

    Just tried it has you talked 20 times yes there was a improvement will keep on with the excerise ta!

  • Cleo says:

    Elisha, what he showed me was lying on the floor with his spine on top of the the length of the roller (ie parallel not perpendicular) and doing various balancing exercises moving his arms and legs slowly to the side etc. while not rolling off. I believe it’s to strengthen his core muscles, the lack of which is making his back hurt. He’s got many other exercises as well (planks, etc.).

    Thanks for the calf stretch blog, I’ll check it out.

  • Anne Benkins says:

    Hi Elisha,
    I’m definitely going to try your sugestiions for PF and AT. Do you have any suggestions for metatarsalgia? I have it between my second and third toe.

    • Hi Anne – This MIGHT help the metatarsalgia as well as the PF, if you focus a little more on releasing your SHIN, as far down as you need to go (if it’s tender/tight feeling keep going). That’s the best I have for you right now. I could absolutely help you in person! Good luck and please keep me posted.

  • Cleo says:

    Hi, my younger self would love this, but I have a knee replacement and while that knee is pretty flexible/bendable all things considered, there’s no way I could do your exercise as 1) my knee doesn’t bend fully and 2) I can’t put weight on it. Would using a foam roller under the calf rolling back and forth while sitting straight legged help calf tightness? We just got a roller for hubby’s back PT exercises.

    Also, for those unable to do your exercise I wanted to share how I got rid of my plantar fasciitis last summer – after watching many many YouTube videos. While many recommend rolling the foot over a golf ball I found my foot too “ticklish” and instead used my wooden rolling pin and rolled my foot back and forth over it with moderate force (while seated). I usually wore a cushy sock or if wrapped a small towel over it. Really stretched out the fascia and I think it did the most good of everything I tried. I also iced, taped, and did manual massage on the arches plus sides and back of the heel, plus using cushy supports inside cushy shoes (Crocs) so I could walk without too much pain. Oh, and stretching before getting out of bed in the morning, usually using a towel looped around my foot and gently pulling the toes towards me (flexing foot). I think it was about 2 months before the pain was gone which I thought was OK considering others I’d heard about. Didn’t get to wear my cute sandals at all but this summer I will!

    • Hi Cleo – Thanks for your comments! You can certainly do some good work on your calves by using the roller with a straight leg. I show an example of that in my blog post for knee pain, so have a look because I am NOT a fan of just rolling on the roller (the second video in the following post is what you’ll want to watch): https://mobilitymastery.com/knee-pain-the-1-cause-its-not-what-you-think-how-to-foam-roll-for-knee-pain/

      I can’t help wanting to ask what kind of exercises your hubby will be doing with a foam roller for his back? I’m writing a new blog post write now called “Why I NEVER recommend foam rolling the low back, and what to do instead.” My alarm bells always go off when I see or hear of people rolling their low back for low back pain. (It can make things a lot worse).

  • Candace says:

    Any idea where I could get my hands on a big foam roll like that? I’ve looked around unsuccessfully. I have a pool noodle but that’s not big enough or solid enough. Thanks!

  • Karen Thompson says:

    Where can I buy a foam roller?

  • michelle says:

    Hi. I have tried everything that gets thrown at me. I have planta facsiaist and its the same pain all day. I’m on my feet at work for 8 hours a day. I used to go for long walks and joggs but now its so hard to even make it through the day. As soon as I’m home I try my hardest not to rest as soon as I do the pain can go to a 8/10. Its even sending pain to my ankles. My husband used to massage my feet but the slightest touch can bring me to trears some nights. Should I get another doctor to see to it or is this something that I’ll go through the days with. Thank you.

    • Hi Michelle – if I were you I’d try this technique once a day for week, and see if it isn’t improved. If you have heel pain you’ll want to add the hamstring release (the link is above in the blog post). Obviously, I am not a doctor so if you think you need medical attention please do seek a doctor. This technique is extremely effective at relieving or eliminating PF. Good luck and keep me posted!

  • Lisa Paull says:

    Hi Renee
    I’m not elderly but have mobility issues for sure. My physiotherapist recommended that I stretch it over a frozen water bottle. As the lady in the video explains, doesn’t properly stretch all that fascia out, but I get relief. I also self massage. Hurts like a beast, but eases once I hit the spot.

  • James says:

    Where can I get the foam/bone roller from?

  • Roberta says:

    I could not get down on knees let alone get up! I have a heel spur and would love to be able to help the pain but with bad knees also this will not be something I could do. 🙁

    • Roberta – you could try my foam rolling method for knee pain, which also addresses the calf fascia but without requiring you to bend your knees. Maybe it will help you with your knee pain as well. The SECOND video in the post is the one with the technique, but I would watch both since you have knee pain. And since you have a heel spur you are trying to heal, use the technique all the way down your calf instead of just at the top. By the way…a heel spur isn’t going to heal instantly. I would guess there are other fascial tightness issues in your legs that is causing a lack of blood flow to your feet. So just doing the calf technique alone may not eliminate the pain. I have lots of other techniques on this site you can try. Here is a link to that knee pain post: https://mobilitymastery.com/knee-pain-the-1-cause-its-not-what-you-think-how-to-foam-roll-for-knee-pain/

  • kahea says:

    Hi there!
    Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge. Would you be able to recommend frequency? How often & how long each stretch should last. I will definitely incorporate these stretches prior & after workouts.

    • Hi Kahea – Everyone is different, so try a few minutes on each calf for a week and see how you feel! Adjust accordingly. If you get sore, back off (you shouldn’t get sore if this is done correctly). You might stay on one spot for 30 seconds (believe it or not this is plenty if you’re doing it right!) Good luck!

  • Kerrie scott says:

    This video addresses perfectly the issues I have with my right Achilles and overtight calf pain! I haven’t a foam roller but my gym does and I’ll find something at home to make do with till I get a roller bought. Brilliant thank you. ????

  • Debbie says:

    What do you have for tennis elbow? I’m in PT for tennis elbow and Achilles tendonitis. They are taking forever to heal. I ordered the foam roller so I will try this excercise. I just want to feel better so I can back to walking and the gym by spring.

  • Lisa says:

    OMGoodness …thank you!

    Finally a stretch that makes sense for the Achilles.

  • Wendell says:

    Hello Elisha Celeste! I shared this link in our exercise group on FB and a few questions came back, largely on how long should we hold a given position? Count to 8, 16? Or is it more the amount of time on each calf as one continously rolls. Should one always have the weight on for rolling up the calf and less so for rolling down toward the toes? Thank you for posting!

    • Hi Wendell – Everyone will be a little different in terms of what they can handle and how much/how often to do this. A good general guideline would be something like 30 seconds of good solid work on each spot, and you may find 4-5 spots. Most people experience significant if not complete relief within a week. There ARE other components to all of the issues mentioned in this post, so if anyone’s pain isn’t completely resolved it’s a good idea to look into other areas such as the hamstrings. If any of your people have heel pain I highly recommend doing my hamstring release combined with this, and I believe it will take care of it, or nearly. Hope this is helpful!

  • Dawn says:

    Hi I can not wit to try this stretch I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for almost a year and nothing has seemed to help. I love to run but with this pain it has knocked out any kind of running. I do have a question how often should I do this stretch everyday? How long before I should feel some kind of relief? Thank you for you time.

  • George says:

    Curious if you have ever heard of someone with Sever’s doing this? My son has Sever’s and nothing seems to be helping him with the heel pain.
    Thank you!

    • Hi George – I work with kids in my private practice who have Severs and other so-called diseases associated with ‘growing pains’ and I get AWESOME results every time. It is my opinion that growing pains happen because the bones are growing faster than the fascia/connective tissue can keep up. How old is your son? Depending on his age I may or may not recommend this, but if you feel he can do it correctly then I say go for it. You may also want to get into his hamstrings and quads. I do offer Skype sessions, and I could easily show you 3-4 things you can do depending on his exact situation. If he’s really young I would have you work on him and show you how. If he’s older I would point him to some of my self help techniques. I hate seeing kids in pain when I know they don’t need to be! Keep me posted!

  • Monica R says:

    Do you have any suggestions for horribly tight IT band issues or hip bursitis?

  • Karen lambeth says:

    I don’t see the video for PF, I really need it.

    • Karen, the video in this post is for PF. You’ll need a foam roller to do the technique. MOST cases of PF come from tight calf fascia. If yours is more in the heel you will likely need to release your hamstrings as well.

  • Hi,
    I’ve had calf / Achilles pain for years. It’s an off and on thing from years of hard physical military exercise. I’ve used a foam roller for years and static stretching but I thought I’d try this method. OUCH!!!!!! damn that’s tough; however my calf and Achilles feel great afterwards. I look forward to the final results in about a weeks time.

    • Hi Graeme – yes, this one can be tough! It will get a LOT easier in a week or so. Healthy fascia won’t hurt when compressed, so the more this hurts the more restricted your calf fascia is. I’m confident you’ll get the results you’re looking for!

  • Sarah Arnold says:

    Hi Amanda
    I really enjoyed this video! An adult ballet friend told me about it because she suffers from plantar fasciitis. I was a professional ballet dancer and have now been teaching over 30 years as well. Often my calves and insteps are very tight. I tried this and it was amazing! Also shared it with a young professional dancer who also experienced some major relief from it also.
    We all found that it doing the rolling regularly for a week had significant effect. I was surprised that even though my left calf muscle gets very tight from overworking due to a clicking tendon in my ankle, that it was my peroneus muscles that had big trigger points. Rolling these out helped a lot.
    One question~ do you have any suggestions for achilles insertion tendinitis? I do get bad heel pain from this but the rolling is helping but wondered if you had any other thoughts. I signed up for your newsletter too as your site is so informative 🙂
    I shared this on my Facebook ballet teacher page and have had over 1,1000 views in a day! I am also posting a link to it from my blog. I hope you do not not mind but it seems to be really great for ballet dancers 🙂
    Thanks again~

  • Amanda Hammann says:

    I just viewed you video for the first time and I would really love to try this but my question is if you don’t have a hard foam roll like you used in your video what can I use considering I don’t have the money to get one i have bad plantar fasiitis and really tight Achilles tendons I’ve had steriod/cortisone injections in my heels twice and the second just made them feel worse to the point I could barely walk I’ve had a foot doctor make me specifically for my feet shoe inserts and they make my legs cramp so bad it hurts to walk I was told if they don’t help I’d have to have surgery I don’t want that I was told to stand on a step and stretch my Achilles tendons out kind of like a toe raise but heels are off the step it’s only made them tighter and more sore I’d like to try what you have suggested in you video to try anything to help relieve the pan and tightness I feel but I’m not sure how to do it with out spending lots of money on a hard foam roll just to do it please help and I hope you can 🙂 thank you

    • Hi Amanda – you could certainly try to get creative and perform this without a foam roller, but it will be far, far less effective or not effective at all. A small soft foam roller like the one I use in the video is about $12. I mention the exact stretch you describe in the video as something I NEVER recommend for plantar fasciitis, so while I am not a doctor and this is merely my opinion, if I were you I’d stop doing that stretch. It sounds like you have an extreme case of PF, so I highly recommend you find $12-15 to invest in a foam roller and try this out. Any substitute simply won’t be that effective or might take you months instead of weeks to feel relief. I do feel it my duty to tell you that in almost every single case of PF to walk in my door (my private practice) I have eliminated it in 1-3 sessions EXCEPT in cases of people who received cortisone injections into their heel. The possible side effects from those injections can mimic exactly the pain of PF, and so it makes it very difficult to know if the fascia release just isn’t working or if they are suffering side effects from the injections (you can perform a simple google search to find those possible side effects). Considering I can eliminate PF in every case where my clients never received the injections, I have reached the conclusion it has to be the shots making the pain very difficult to eliminate. I am not saying this to scare you or make you angry or lose hope that this could help you (because I DO believe this stretch could help you), I just want to make sure you realize you may have to stick with this longer than other people and you may have to try other techniques in addition to this one. Heel pain can be more difficult to eliminate than PF that shows up in the arches of the feet, and often has a root cause in your hamstrings and/or glutes. If you’re committed you can figure it out but it may take experimentation and a little patience. And you will definitely need a foam roller and hopefully also a lacrosse ball (for the hamstring technique, which you can search for on this blog). Good luck!

  • Hal Evans says:

    Thanks Elisha, for a clear and easy to follow demonstration!

    I haven’t tried it yet, but having suffered from Plantar Fasciitis for several years (with symptoms varying from mild to almost debilitating), I’ll give anything a go.

    Interesting that whilst the specialist treating me gave me some good remedial exercises, there was nothing like this.

    Fingers crossed!!

  • Suzanne Ryan says:

    My daughter is 12 and a high level gymnast. She suffers with Severs, Osgood-Sclatter, and Syndig Larson. Would this stretch help her with any of these issues?

    • Hi Suzanne – I was a gymnast as well, so I know how hard that sport can be on the body. In my private practice I’ve worked with quite a few kids who have Osgood Shlatter and Severs and “jumping knee.” Synding Larsen is similar. It is my firm opinion that growing pains like these are very fixable. The gymnastics is certainly going to compound the issue, but I believe your daughter can get significant if not complete relief with some of the techniques here on my blog. This one is a great one for the Severs and possibly the other two, and I would add the hamstring release for the heel pain also. For the other two I recommend finding my knee pain calf technique just in case she can’t get that outer calf fascia with this one, the IT Band release and the quad technique. She may need all of those techniques to find the main culprits. My calves and quads are the strongest/biggest muscles in my body because of gymnastics, so it’s possible her quads are related to the two patella issues, even though typically I would think ITB and possibly shins. If I were working on her myself we would check her entire lower body. If she is a high level gymnast, she may want to consider adding ALL of these techniques into a daily or weekly routine. I wish I’d had them. If her fascia is already getting restricted, she is going to lose her “spring” and these techniques will bring that back. In my private practice with high level adult athletes, they typically get better race times (cycling and running) working with me because their bodies are moving with more efficiency. If you want additional help and to make sure she does the techniques correctly, I do offer Skype sessions. Good luck, keep me posted!

  • Marisa says:

    I’ve had right Achilles tendinitis for several months. I’ve tried physio and strapping with only minimal relief. I’ve started doing this stretch a few days ago but can only tolerate about 1 minute of it as my fascia really hurts when I start moving my foot. I try to do this twice a day. I noticed that in a reply to an earlier comment you mentioned 3-5 minutes and once a day. Was that per leg or for both legs? I’m not certain if I’m doing enough but they pain is unbelievable. I haven’t noticed any improvement yet.

    • Hi Marisa – do what you can tolerate and work up to more. If it hurts that much it definitely suggests some seriously tight calf fascia. I do mention in my post that this one stretch can bring significant relief to all these issues, but it isn’t the only cause. You may need to release your hamstrings and plantar fascia as well. But I would start with this one for a week or two and see what happens before adding anything else. Keep me posted!

  • Hi just done what u said . Will I need to keep doing it or will my foot be heald?

  • Anne Trench says:


    Just saw this on Facebook. I have had a bilateral injury called posterior tibial tendinosis. Got it at the end of a 500-mile hike. It’s better 2 years later but still a worry. I’m 66 and the recovery took forever. Would this stretch help this? My issues run from the interior of the ankles down to the arches of the foot. Deep tissue massage of my calves was part of my recovery. Wondering because this stretch looks as if works on the front of the leg.

    • Hi Anne – yes, absolutely I believe this will help! 500 mile hike?! Wow, go you! What hike did you do? I would say for you, and and ALL of the tissues (fascia) in your calf compartment are up for grabs and probably need releasing: the gastrocs (what most people know as the calf muscles), soleus, anterior tibalis (shin muscle), peroneals etc. The #1 cause of pain on the tops of the feet is restricted fascia in the shins. The #1 cause of pain in the arches of the foot is the “meat” of your calf, so your gastrocs all the way down to your Achilles. If I were you I’d hunt around for all the best spots in the entire calf region, front and back. This technique is unique in that you will simultaneously be releasing the front AND the back of that lower leg. Good luck, let me know how it works for you!

  • Kristy Velenski says:

    Hi 🙂 I’ve suffered shin splints/plantar problems all my life. I just tried doing this technique but I can’t even start to begin, as soon as I put a shin on the foam roller to position myself, the pain in my shin is so excruciating that I can’t even get beyond that???

    • Hey Kristy – first, I suggest ONLY using the SOFTEST roller you can find for this one (like the one in the video). Anything super hard or knobby is not a good idea for this, and definitely not the first week or so you’re doing it (the tighter your fascia the more this will suck! You know your fascia is fully released when it doesn’t hurt anymore). Then, try angling your bottom leg so that your shin bone is NOT on the roller. You want to make sure the “meat” of your shin muscles is taking the weight, not the shin bone. If you are still having problems, then perhaps start with my calf release technique for knee pain, which will give you at least a jump start at releasing some of that calf fascia. It’s not nearly as effective as this technique, but maybe try that for a week and come back to this one after that and see if it’s doable. If you need/want personalized help I do offer Skype sessions. Good luck, keep me posted! Here is the knee pain post: https://mobilitymastery.com/knee-pain-the-1-cause-its-not-what-you-think-how-to-foam-roll-for-knee-pain/

  • Kim Shope says:

    Great video and post!
    Do you think this would help my dance students who have tight achilles and calf muscles? Some have a hard time doing a deep plié (knee bend) and therefore their jumps suffer as well. It sounds like telling them to stand on the stairs to stretch statically may have caused more tightness. Your thoughts are appreciated!

    Miss Kim

    • Hi Kim – I’m actually planning to do an entire episode of Mobility Mastery Monday on this topic: what is the difference between flexibility and healthy/springy fascia? There actually is a big difference. For your girls, absolutely this technique will help release the tight fascia in their calves and achilles. That’s going to help them (anyone) have more “spring”, be less injury prone with stuff like ankle issues and foot problems, but it won’t make them more flexible. I was a gymnast growing up, so I am hypermobile. But my fascia is ridiculously tight. What this means is: almost all of my attachments have been permanently overstretched. In other words, all those hours of static stretching as a child gymnast means that the dense fascia that turns into tendons and ligaments which attach to bones are very flexible/loose. Everything IN BETWEEN my attachments however is extremely tight if I don’t stay on top of my own fascial release.

      If increased flexibility is the goal, I would definitely make sure that all the middle stuff is taken care of with fascia release work, so all those middle soft tissues cooperate nicely during other kinds of stretching to gain flexibility. I really like PNF stretching as a pre-cursor to static stretching. I’ll have an episode coming out on that in the coming months, but I’m sure you can find something else online. It’s a more active form of stretching. Speaking of…active isolated stretching is also fantastic.

      I am fairly “anti” static stretching for adults and absolutely anti static stretching for anyone trying to get out of pain or heal an injury. I work on a LOT of adults who were dancers and gymnasts early in life, and they are fairly injury prone because of being hypermobile. But there really isn’t any way around using static stretching if flexibility is the goal. Hope that makes sense! I’ll have a whole episode coming out on this soon!

  • Tash says:

    Hi, thanks for the video, I’m trying to do the exercise but it really hurts the muscle next to my shin bone, because my weight is pressing it down against the roller. So much so that it’s hard to focus on pinning down the fascia below my calf. Is that just something to expect or am I doing it wrong?

    • Hi Tash – the tighter a muscle is (or rather, the fascia in that muscle), the more it will hurt when compression or weight is applied! So this tells me you have a very tight shin area (tibialis anterior and possibly your peroneals). If the sensation is just too much to start with, I’d back off the weight by sitting up a little, or…lift your butt! You can modify the weight pretty easily that way. Play around with positioning, weight etc and find a good starting point for yourself, and then work your way up to more weight. HEALTHY FASCIA WON’T HURT! Believe it or not. See the comment above yours for a good testimonial on that. Good luck!

    • Also – I recommend using a SOFT roller for this one, not a hard roller. It’ll be much easier on the shin bone that way.

  • Carrie Goff says:

    I want to thank you for sharing this technique. I have had Achilles pain for the past several months. I was afraid I was going to have to give up boot camp that I love. I tried stretching, icing after workouts, foam rolling my calf but did not get any relief. After doing this process for a week, my heel pain caused by my Achilles is gone! It was so painful at first but now that the tightness is gone, the technique doesn’t hurt anymore. Thank you!!!!

    • Hi Carrie – Thanks for sharing, I’m SO happy you’ve gotten complete relief! And you also got to experience how healthy fascia feels with regular release work…like nothing! Very cool, and way to stick with it to see results. Have fun in boot camp!

  • Cindi Sherman says:

    I have problems with PTTD… One ankle is going to require surgery to rebuild the arch. There’s still hope for the other ankle. Any good stretches or strengthening exercises you can suggest?

    • Hi Cindi – it is my opinion that the cause of most tears (and certainly inflammation) is tight fascia somewhere upstream/downstream of or adjacent to the site of pain or injury. I’ve worked with clients who have “flat feet” and we can usually bring the arch back naturally, by restoring the natural shape and space of the fascial system in the legs and feet, and by extension the bones. This is such a hard thing to help with long distance, because there’s no way for me to know exactly what’s going on in your body, but this particular technique is probably one of the best things you can do. The calf fascia plays a huge part in the shape and texture of the arches as well as the Achilles and everything else ankle related. But you may also need to release your plantar fascia and adductors. If you want personalized help, I recommend doing a Skype session with me. Try the above technique and let me know what happens! Good luck 🙂

  • Denise Rika says:

    I am so grateful that my loving husband has been searching for something different that may alleviate the pain I have endured for the last 5mths & he found you 😀 I watched your video and followed along, for the first time in mths I walked without limping and best of all NO PAIN, I couldn’t even touch my lower legs nor my Achilles tendon without excruciating pain, today I can, it brought me to tears of joy and a relief beyond any words I can write. 10 minutes is all it took today to help rid me of the pain that’s plagued me 24/7. Many thanks to my Husband and to You both for saving my sanity.

  • Mark Murphy says:

    This is literally the most amazing self release technique I have ever tried for the lower leg – instant improvement from foot to hip!

    • Thanks for commenting Mark! This technique is one of the few self-help moves that mimics what I do in my private practice almost perfectly (I am usually pinning clients with my body weight via my foot and coaching people through movement to create a true “pin” before stretching). Glad you found it so helpful!

  • Louise says:

    My physio also recommended with plantar fasciitis freezing a water bottle and doing ice massage by putting as much pressure and rolling on the bottle with the foot as I could handle. You create a t shape and it’s rolls easily and apply as much pressure as you can and it worked a miracle as well!

  • phil says:

    Hi ya elisha do you have any videos for shoulder discomfort? Specifically post ac tear?

    • Hi Phil – I have a technique (blog post with accompanying video) coming out in a few weeks that would be my top recommendation. So make sure to sign up for updates if you want to be emailed when the post goes live. Until then…you could try my two techniques for pain between the shoulder blades, which teaches you lat and rhomboid release. The technique coming out in a few weeks is more bicep related, which is my go-to area to target for relieving shoulder joint issues, especially tears and rotator cuff issues.

  • Evelyn Sanchez says:

    I had a 5th metatarsal fracture in 2014 that took forever to heal, I am a triathlete and was training for IM boulder but had to drop out of my race after the swim because it still wasn’t healed complete. I was determined to race boulder IM 2015 and happily finally became an IM! Unfortunately I ended up walking more than half of the marathon part. And since then every time I go for a run I experience terrible cramping in the bottoms of my feet and calfs so tight, I can’t run more than 2 minutes before I have to stop and stretch. And now watching your video I’ve been doing the wrong stretches ???? I am desperate to find an answer for my pain and just want to run again! Are you in Boulder? And what are the possibilities of working with you?

    • Hi Evelyn! I AM in Boulder, and I could sure help you a LOT more effectively in person than online. You can check me out here: http://www.boulderpainrelief.com, and you can schedule yourself via my website as well. I definitely believe I can help you!

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Elisha from Australia. I’ve just watched your video and am hopeful for the first time in ages that I might solve my Achilles problem. Mine is Insertional Achilles Tendinitis, I think, so will this technique still be effective? If I understand correctly, the lower down the calf I go, the better? Does it make any difference if there is associated retrocalcaneal bursitis?
    I am an assistant nurse in a nursing home so am on my feet constantly.
    Thanks, Nicole

  • Jason B says:

    Where is this supposed to hurt the most?! I have tried it and I find the discomfort of the shin bone on the foam roll is terrible!

    • Hey Jason – make sure you’re using a SOFT roller for this stretch. Also, it may take a bit of experimenting but try NOT to place your weight on the shin bone itself, rather try to get your weight on the shin muscles. I suggest experimenting with various positions and how much you actually SIT down onto that leg, and I bet you can find a way to make it work. Hope this helps, keep me posted!

  • Steve says:

    Hi Elisha

    Over the last decade I have suffered from plantar faceitous in both feet. It moved on to shin splints when I started participating in bootcamps and gym sessions (which I ceased due to the pain). I then suffered from achilles problems and really tight calves. I am overweight but am on my feet and move constantly each day. I usually achieve 15000 steps a day and over 90 minutes of very active movement. I have had massages, acupuncture, dry needling, physiotherapy and podiatry to try to resolve my issues.
    I cant wait to go and try these stretches when i find a roller.



    • Hey Steve! Glad you found this 🙂
      If you need help choosing a foam roller I just wrote and filmed a post to help you out: https://mobilitymastery.com/how-to-choose-a-foam-roller-best-picks-for-fascia-release/

      You will definitely want a SOFT roller for the plantar fascia calf stretch in this post. And if you have trouble getting into the position for this one, you could start with my other calf release technique here: https://mobilitymastery.com/knee-pain-the-1-cause-its-not-what-you-think-how-to-foam-roll-for-knee-pain/
      Good luck and keep me posted!

      • STEVE says:

        Hi Elisha

        12 months into doing the calf stretches and can I say this has completely changed my life. They work. Neither my podiatrist nor physio have been able to provide the relief the roller exercise and pinning do. Depending on my work load I can vary the frequency of intervals of doing the pinning. I must say this has been my go to exercise/stretch for restless leg syndrome. I also invented (not sure if there is anything like it out in the real world) a simple machine to help work massage the calf muscles whilst sitting down. I use this each day and it also helps . Love ya work. Steve

        • Hi Steve – so happy to hear this! Glad it’s helping you so much 🙂
          I’m curious what you invented!

  • Donna says:

    I had a slip down carpeted stairs and received a tri-malleolar fracture and subsequent surgical repair with a plate, pins and screws in January. I continue to feel tightness across my instep and down towards my toes. My Achilles has also started to aggravate. I do the PT static exercises and it gives some relief. Would your technique help me? Thank you!

    • Donna says:

      And what is the best type and diameter of foam roller?

    • Hi Donna – apologies for the long delay in replying, somehow I didn’t see your comment until right now! Happy New Year! I definitely think this technique will help you, and I would recommend getting one of the soft rollers to start with. It doesn’t matter what diameter it is. The wider ones will be a bit easier to navigate with more room, but you can definitely do this one on a shorter roller like the one in my video. I hope you didn’t wait this long to try it though! Let me know if I can help with anything else.

  • Salina says:

    I am a ballet dancer and have been dealing with what I believed to be shin splints for the last 2 months. I’ve foam rolled before, but I’ve never been able to really target the calves just right. I’ve done this stretch three times in the last two days and my shins have stopped the terrible all day aching and I was able to dance during a 3 hour rehearsal without the same shooting pain I’ve had down my shin bone. Although this stretch hurts terribly, it is much easier to manage than the ongoing shin pain, and now I believe I will be able to dance in the show in 3 weeks! Thank you so much for posting the video!

    Also, you are in Colorado? I may need to schedule a visit (or a few of them) with you.

    • Hi Salina! Very cool, I’m super happy this is helping you! Good luck with your rehearsals and I hope the show goes well! I do live in Colorado. I’m in Boulder. Here is my private practice website if you decide to come see me in person (results are way better/faster/longer lasting that way!) http://www.boulderpainrelief.com

  • Theresa says:

    How many times a day/week should we do this?

    • Hi Theresa – Every person is going to be a bit different, but a few minutes on each calf per day for a week should be enough to see significant improvement. Some people feel immediate relief. This is very different than massaging or static stretching, because you’re pinning the fascia and ultimately stretching it out in 360 degrees. This mimics what I do with my private clients and is very effective! Good luck and keep me posted!

  • Brad says:

    Or lose 50 pounds, and eliminate 90 percent of your leg, knee and foot pain.

    • Brad – I live in Boulder, CO and almost all of my clients are super fit athletes who experience pain due to imbalances in the fascia, and/or overuse from being so active. Weight is not a significant factor in my opinion.

  • Bipasha choudhuri says:

    Hi Elisha, I am a sports physio . I deal with shin splint day in and day out…. I think this is really going to help me out easily…. Thank you !

  • Sarah Newman says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if this would also be useful for the functional version of Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (PAES). I have PAES that becomes unbearable when I play roller derby, and I’m hoping that doing this stretch regularly will help relieve the compartment syndrome-like symptoms that I encounter when I skate.


  • Ed says:

    How long is the duration of stretch to be? I have bad right leg Achilles Tendonitis and can see how this would be helpful when my static braces haven’t been.

    • Hi Ed – this will be somewhat individual and depends on how restricted your calf fascia is. Some people do this for a minute per calf, some for 5 minutes. You may want to start with a minute and work your way up, or start with 5 minutes and you’ll soon need less time. Tight fascia won’t hurt, so the more you do this the healthier that fascia becomes and the less you need the stretch. Good luck!

  • Izzy says:

    My son is 12 years old and suffers with tight hamstrings and don’t have much give in his right ankle. Would you recommend this for him .

  • Ray Kenna says:

    Hi Elisha Love the videos! I tried the calf stretch and found after a few times stretching my left calf on my heal became very sore. Am i over doing it?

    • Hi Ray – what are you using this stretch for? PF, heel pain, achilles, etc? Without knowing more it’s hard to say why you have a sore heel after trying this. Have you ever had a cortisone shot in your foot for PF? That could certainly cause soreness after something like this. If you have PF, it’s not unusual for the pain to move location after releasing something like calves, say from your arches to your heel. Often when I work with my private clients we have to chase the pain until it disappears. The above video is only one (albeit it the best) solution for PF and the other issues I list. If you can give me more info I can tell you my opinion about why your heel might be getting sore (and what to do about it).

      • Ray Kenna says:

        Hi Elisha, your link was recommended by a client of mine and I was trying them out. I hadn’t noticed any trouble with the PF, calf or achillies. That not to say there wasn’t something brewing. I’m grand now but was curious, maybe I went at it with to much gusto. Thanks Ray

  • Jess says:

    I am really hoping this stretch will help! I was given a diagnosis of Post tibial Tendon disorder a few years back, and nothing they have given me has worked to get back to running. They had me brace my ankle at first, then gave me orthopedics and static stretches. I still have not been able to run- when I try my calf, arch of my foot, and heel area cramp and/or send out a lot of pain. Even fast walking or strenuous hikes can set it off if I am not careful. When I try this stretch, it is very difficult to point my foot and rotate my foot. How much should I push it? It is more of a tightness issue than shooting pain. I am having to use a modified position similar to the one mentioned above, as just putting my body weight on my calf on the foam roller is too much right now.

    • Jess says:

      Or orthotics rather., orthopedics.

    • Hey Jess – I absolutely believe this can and will help you! As long as you’re not getting any signals from your body that what you’re doing is “wrong,” pushing it should be fine. This is GOING TO SUCK haha, there’s no way around that at all. The more this technique hurts, the more it indicates how unhealthy your fascia is in the calf. Make sure you get into the BOTTOM portion of your calf just above the Achilles, for you in particular that will be important. Give this 5 minutes a day for week and see what happens. Keep me posted!

  • Sherri says:

    I have P.F. and now they found a stress fracture in my heel. Do you know what the connection between the 2 could be?

    • Hi Sherri – well first of all, I’m not a doctor so I’m not legally allowed to diagnose anyone. Also, it would be a lot easier for me to give my professional opinion if I worked on you myself in-office. There could be a lot going on. But I suspect that the fascia in your entire lower leg compartment is incredibly tight/restricted, which can do several things: you lose SPRING through movement when the fascia is too tight, meaning…if you’re trying to walk or run regularly and you have really tight fascia in your calves, Achilles and feet, instead of hitting the ground and springing out of each step, your feet hit harder and have to work harder to push off. That can cause a stress fracture. If you want more info from me specifically on either/both of these issues and more/better techniques to address them, I recommend a Skype session. https://mobilitymastery.com/skype-sessions/
      Thanks for commenting and good luck!

  • Meg says:

    Great! I’m looking forward to the new videos. I finally tried this plantar fasciitis stretch, and I can’t do it! It’s incredibly painful just to put the front of either shin on the roller!

  • Meg says:

    Hi, thank you for the very helpful videos!
    I have an extremely tight and painful neck and trapezius.
    Do you have any recommendations for relieving these areas?

    • Hi Meg! You’re welcome, so happy you find my videos helpful. I totally know what you mean about tight and painful neck and traps! I get that too. I definitely have something for that, but it’s not up yet. If you want to make sure you get updated when new posts go up (I expect to get that one up in a week or so), please subscribe or keep checking back.

  • Anthony says:

    Hi Elisha!

    Thanks for the video it really has helped a lot!
    Do you have any similar techniques for the hips?

  • Michael Mock says:

    Thanks for this info! I’m going to track down a foam roller and give this a try. I work in a warehouse (concrete floors), walk 10-12 miles a day on those floors, always pushing, pulling, or carrying something heavy, and my fasciitis, shin splints, and knee pain have been killing me lately.

    • This should help you out a lot Michael! Stay tuned for more stretches for the feet and hamstrings, if you include those in your stretching regimen you will likely get and stay pain-free. Keep me posted and hope you get the relief you’re looking for!

  • Morgan says:

    Thanks so much for this video and sharing the technique! Tight calves have been the bane of my running existence and I’m always looking for ways to stretch them. I’ve had Achilles problems and plantar fasciitis all due to tight calves. My question is about the foot flexing. When I’m in position on the foam roller, the foot of the leg I’m pinning is touching the floor – some of that calf is on the floor. I can flex the foot a little if I lean forward more, but then I’m not using much of my body weight to pin the fascia. Am I doing something wrong or do I need a taller (?) foam roller? I may try this on the bed or couch like the commenter above suggested. Anyway thank you again! I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and I’m hopeful that this will allow me to run much better!

    • What kind of roller are you using Morgan? With any typical foam roller you SHOULD have enough room for your foot to flex and point. When I’m doing this, sometimes I have to curl my toes up when I’m flexing, so my toes kind of scrape the floor a little. Also, make sure your bottom calf isn’t dropping towards the floor. You can control this by making sure the top calf sits directly over the roller (rather than hanging off the edge pushing the bottom calf towards the floor). Play around with it and hopefully something works for you! This is by FAR the best self-stretch I’ve found for actually releasing the calf fascia. I have VERY tight calves also. Good luck on your half marathon!

  • Morag says:

    Is it best to warm up the muscles first? Should you do it before, after exercise? How often should you do it?
    Looks great and I am hopeful it will help my very tight calf muscles, thank you.

    • Morag – It’s not necessary to “warm up” before doing this. I use this technique before every workout or run, and typically spend about 1-2 minutes on each calf. If you have a severe case of plantar fasciitis or heel pain, you’ll want to try this daily for a week or so. If you just have tight calves, you could do it as frequently as you want, or 1-2x per week. Try it, see how you feel and adjust frequency as necessary!

  • Christine says:

    Oh wow!! Thank you for this technique… I’m really struggling with my soleus while running. It get so sore that I actually go numb in my feet, until I stop stretch. The pain almost immedaitly goes away and feeling coming back. It’s almost like I need to go through that cycle before I can run pain free.
    I just did this rolling and it was super sore, I have long slow run tomorrow, so let’s hope it won’t be too sore!!! Do you have any other rolling techniques for the soleus???

    • Hi Christine! This is the MOST powerful technique I have for addressing tight fascia in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. The fact that you’re describing such intense soreness while running makes me think there are other things going on that you should consider, like your running gait. If you’re taking small short steps and/or toe striking, you will definitely be winding up your calf tissue like crazy. Personally (I’m a runner but NOT a race runner, I trail run because I enjoy it), I find that using my hamstrings and glutes and getting full hip extension through my running stride make for a more powerful, effortless run AND keeps me calves and quads from getting too tight. Keep in mind I am NOT a running coach, I’m speaking from an anatomical perspective on what will get tight with what type of stride. Good luck with your running and let me know how this works for you over the coming week(s)!

  • Kari says:

    I travel a ton for work, and am limited to a carry on suitcase most of the time. Is there anything you can recommend aside from the roller? I would only be able to use a roller 2 days a week at most, but my feet are killing me…

  • Tim says:

    Hi Elisha – i get some heal soreness after exercise, particularly after a run which i do a lot, perhaps an hour or so later, but bizarrely doesn’t hurt when actually running! Does that surprise you? I sort of think it’s related to PF but not really sure. Static stretches help a little, but you say you’re not a fan so I’m wondering if the stretch in your video with the foam roller might actually be better for me? I do get tight achilles so again wonder if might all be linked.

    • Hey Tim, you should definitely give this technique a try, I think it’ll help! Are you a feel striker while running? What static stretches are you doing that help?

      • Tim says:

        Hi Elisha, thx for responding. I am a heel striker, I’ve tried to lessen the impact over time, so not as bad as I used to be. It’s the usual stretches, eg. standing on edge of step and dropping the heel then up onto toes; another is to lean against wall and for each leg, with foot flat on floor slowly bend knee and gently lower your body – stretches calf/achilles; another is to put one straight leg out in front with the other leg slightly bent, then bend forward at the waist, if you lift your toes you get a better stretch up the back of the straight leg. Hope they make sense! But I’m really keen to try your stretch, I think it’ll be a much better stretch. I’ve been circuit training this evening (I’m in UK), and can feel my heel getting a little sore.

  • m.gastrocnemious says:


    Just a sidebar really. But your anatomy is labelled incorrectly.


    • You’re talking about the photo in the blog post? Looks like you’re correct, and I definitely want to portray correct anatomy information. I will look for a replacement image as soon as I have time.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank you for this! My 12 year old son started running on his middle school’s cross country team and has had a lot of foot/low ankle pain, and I’m sure it’s due to tightness in his calves. It’s gotten better as the season went on but I will definitely have him try this.

    • Great, at 12 years old his fascia should respond really well! Make sure he doesn’t put his SHIN BONE directly on the roller as it may bruise, especially at his age. Or try my calf technique in the blog post about knee pain. Hope he feels better!

  • Claire says:

    Hi Elisha – my brilliant trainer forwarded me your post. I have been suffering for a year with either Plantar Fasciitis, heel spur, tendonitis, achilies problem and now having an MRI scan tmrw to get an answer (finally). Rheumatologist thinks it coukd be enthesitis, treatment being a steroid injection in my foot which i have heard is horrendous!! Will be giving this stretching technique a go as i cannot walk on my herl, my heel goes numb, and i cannot bare certain shoes touching my heel. I really am in a pickle!! Cx

    • Hi Claire! First of all, I want you to know that I have seen my clients eliminate ALL of these things through releasing fascia in the calves, hamstrings, plantar fascia and other areas. I’ve been helping people get out of pain for 8 years this way and I have always been able to get my clients full relief from PF within 1-5 sessions, UNLESS they have had a cortisone injection in the heel or plantar fascia. I am not a doctor and so I cannot give you medical advice, however…I would urge you to do your own research on the possible side effects of cortisone injections before submitting to one. The Mayo Clinic website lists a few possible side effects such as necrosis (death) of nearby bone, necrosis of tissue, joint infection, nerve damage, inflammation, tendon and ligament rupture and all kinds of other things. Try the above technique for at least 3-5 days, and you should start to see improvement! Keep me posted. And don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!

      • Karen may says:

        I read your article about the relief for tight calf muscles. I am a out out of trying to heal my plantar fasciitis which began at the end of May. I have seen two doctors. All the podiatrist wanted to do was cortisone shots in both feet which I let her do. At that point, all I wanted to do was crawl around on my hands and feet. The pain is worse in my left heel. However, I get terrible pulling and kind of burning feeling across my plantar fascia in the arches of both feet. I have had 13 p/t visits and finally stopped. I have a lump on the bottom of both feet and they used to scrape at it because I have been told it is scar tissue from tearing and healing of the plantar fascia. I am concerned that I have tumors or cysts because they are very painful to press. I am so fed up of my feet not being well and always being in pain. Do you really think it is scar tissue and how can I get rid of it? I even had an MRI on my left foot to see if it was a stress fracture and it came back negative and nothing was said about the lump. I was told there was a band of inflammation around my left heel. As i said, it is both feet.

        • Hi Karen – I am sorry to hear you’re in such pain! I wish you could come see me in my private practice. A lot of my clients find me after “trying everything” and nearly giving up. Unfortunately, those cortisone shots really complicate matters. You may have read above in my response to Claire about the possible side effects. At this point it gets hard to tell if your pain is the original pain or a reaction to the shots (or both). I definitely don’t want you to lose faith or give up though! I would DEFINITELY try this technique. Do it 5-10 mins a day (5 mins per calf, maybe 30 seconds per spot going from high on the calf all the way down to the Achilles). Do that for a week and see what happens. If you get sore from this, back off a bit.

          I DO have people who fly to Boulder, CO to work with me. It is a LOT easier for me to help people in person. Based on everything you’ve described I suspect that lump may just be some REALLY tight fascia that’s balled up. I have techniques that are not included in the above video that would help you a lot I suspect. I’m offering Skype sessions for people who need more help than this one video can offer. You might want to consider that.

          Do keep me posted! I feel for you!

  • Art says:

    Would this work for Tarsal Tunnel relief?

    • Hi Art – I would say you have a good chance of positively improving tarsal tunnel syndrome with this technique. You’ll want to focus your efforts on the medial or INNER portion of your calf, because typically tarsal tunnel syndrome shows up when the fascia in your tibilalis posterior and several other muscles responsible for ankle inversion (the motion of an ankle “rolling” before it sprains, for example) gets really tight. You could try this technique followed by rolling the bottom of your foot on a lacrosse ball to get even more relief. (I’ll have a technique coming out for this that is better than rolling but it is difficult to describe with words and easy to show with video instruction).

      There may also be some fascial restriction in your adductor, or inner thigh. Anything on that medial or inner line could potentially lead to nerve entrapment and/or pain in that tarsal area. Let me know how this goes for you!

  • Tanya says:

    Is there any way you can do this without a roller or something I could substitute the roller with? I have had terrible PF for a while and I’m desperate to try any method offering any relief. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Tanya – at this time I don’t have any ideas for a substitute for this particular technique! Can you go buy or order a foam roller online? Most sporting goods stores have them these days.

      • Tanya says:

        Yes will do. Thanks, we have a cramped house and was just wondering if there was any alternative. 😉

  • Shaun says:

    As shin splints is caused by overuse of the anterior tibialis, mostly due to poor gait, how does this help this issue? same question for plantar fasciitis.

    • Hi Shaun – when this technique is performed properly, the fascia in the anterior tibilalis gets a really good release, which relieves a lot of overuse tension. As for plantar fasciitis, it’s been my experience – for myself as well as that of many clients over the years – that the main direct cause of PF is tight fascia in the calves. When that calf fascia gets balled up and stuck to itself, especially in the lower calf, it pulls on the plantar fascia causing irritation and inflammation. Many of my private clients get full relief just from releasing the calves fully. Others need hamstring work, plantar fascia work and sometimes hips or upper body.

      The above video isn’t meant to be a FULL solution to ANY of the issues I mention, it just happens to be a really powerful technique that can address all of these really well as ONE thing to try. When I work with private clients (fascial release, not foam rolling) we do a lot more. Thanks for your question!

  • Lisa says:

    Can you tell me what size roller you would use for this stretch.

  • Sarah Veith says:

    Hello! I have some pretty stubborn peroneal tendonitis, and have had one surgical intervention. (3/15). Will this provide me some relief?

    • Hi Sarah – I do believe you would get some relief from this. If you consider that tendonitis of any kind (anywhere in the body) is really just “inflammation” (itis) of a certain tendon, then the question is WHY is it inflamed? Inflammation occurs most often (in my experience) when there is a lack of blood flow to that tendon, and/or the fascia in the muscle compartment that turns INTO that tendon is too tight and pulling on the tendon. It’s possible your IT Band is also tight and not allowing blood to flow into the lower leg compartment.

      There are certainly other possible factors involved (such as the soleus area or tibialis posterior). Opposites can inhibit and affect one another in something called reciprocal inhibition. If your tibialis posterior is extremely overtight (which would usually be consistent with a tendency to sprain ankles and/or have an ankle that is prone to inversion), then it could be what is affecting that peroneal area. Without more information it’s difficult to say for sure. I am offering Skype sessions if you want my full professional opinion and a personalized foam rolling routine. Otherwise…I’d say try this one technique and see if you get some relief. If you do…keep at it! Good luck and keep me posted 🙂

  • Scott says:

    I like the idea doing this.

    I am week 19 of a repture achellies tendon. Would this help with that and would it be too much?

    Thanks you.

    • Hey Scott – I would recommend trying this HIGH on the calf to start, and possibly with lighter weight (don’t sit down fully onto the leg on the roller). See what happens. Did you have surgery for that ruptured achilles? It’s definitely a good idea to get BLOOD to that low calf/achilles area, which will help in the healing. But you don’t want to strain that tendon if it’s not fully healed yet. If I were in your shoes I would try this the way I describe above, move a little closer to the achilles and if there are any signs of irritation, then stop. Listen to your body! Let me know if I can help you further.

  • AmyC says:

    Do you have a modification for someone with a bad knee? After several surgeries my left knee doesn’t bend all the way anymore (I can’t do child’s pose for example). And I believe I’m suffering a little bit of PF. Thanks.

  • LindaLWD says:

    I’m curious about the leg that’s on the foam roller. Is the front of your leg directly on the roller, or is it more the side of your leg? I tried both ways and found if the front (shin bone) part of my leg was on the foam roller-it was excruciating. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Hi Linda – You definitely do NOT want to put your weight onto the shin bone. The leg that’s on the roller should be at a slight angle, putting your shin on the roller (the fascia in your shine will also get a stretch through this technique). You don’t want your leg at TOO much of an angle otherwise you won’t be pinning/stretching the most important fascia in the calf. As long as you’re not on that shin bone you should be fine, and feel free to play around with this to find the best spots on YOUR leg (the more tender it is, the more likely it needs to be released). Good luck and keep me posted!

      • Tara says:

        where can I get a foam roller or what can be substituted for one?

      • Pauline says:

        Hi. Will wearing dorsal splints at night be helpful with this exercise

        • Hi Pauline – personally and professionally, I am not a fan of anything external that is attempting to force the body or fascia into a different position. For the fascia to accept change permanently, it must change itself (that’s why pinning and stretching it works so well). So I do not advocate the use of braces, splints, etc. Doing the technique in this video is MORE than enough to start to reverse that calf restriction and get your feet more relaxed. Hope you get some relief from it!

  • Shadrack says:

    Hi Elisha thanks for the above video regarding stretching. It has help me a lot with calf and a Achilles pain.

  • Nancy K says:

    Hello, I am intrigued by your video as I have recently begun to suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. The static stretches that were recommended to me actually seemed to exaggerate my issues. This looks like a good stretch for me. How often should you do this? I don’t believe it was covered in the video. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Nancy! I am NOT a fan of static stretching at all, but definitely not for PF. It can often make it worse as you’ve found out. I would try this once a day for 5-10 mins (you’ll need less time over time, but there’s also a learning curve in the beginning). Once a day for a week should make a big improvement! Let me know how it goes!

  • renee says:

    alternative for elderly person – may not be able to get on floor easily?

    • Hi Renee – What is the issue that needs to be addressed? (Plantar Fasciitis, Heel pain etc??) I don’t have anything to direct you to right now for someone unable to get on the floor. I am in the process of creating a whole new website/brand that will help people get out of pain using these kinds of at-home tools, so stay tuned. I can think of a few ways to modify this but won’t be able to get a video up for a bit. My suggestion at this time is to seek out a local practitioner who does some kind of fascial release – myofascial massage, rolfing, ART or similar.

      • Tammy says:

        This technique would be dangerous for compartment syndrome. People should be aware that compartment syndrome should be treated by a medical professional and can be a medical emergency.

    • MARYLOU says:

      First, many, many thanks for the instructive video. I have left Achilles tendon pain and I have two races coming up. This saved me. I am ‘older’. I couldn’t get into the right position, either. Also, the roller I used was too hard and I bruised my shin. Ouch. What works for me, is to get on my bed, put my left leg on a pillow while hanging the foot off the end of the pillow and bed, and put my right knee on top of my lower left leg and apply pressure, as in the the video. Then move my foot; this is critical, as stated. I also have begun experimenting with applying pressure while seated by crossing my leg over the opposite knee and providing pressure and foot rotation. Not as effective as the bed, but I can do it at my desk or when I’m trapped in a meeting haha.

      • Marylou!!! You’re my hero today! Why? I just LOVE that you found a way to make this work for YOU and your body/abilities. That is the true definition of “adventurer” I mention when I say I work with “athletes and adventurers.” Thank you so much for sharing, I know you’ll help other people who maybe don’t have the flexibility I do in this video (that’s something I will likely address in the future and come up with work-arounds like you did). I do the exact same thing you mention, placing one calf on the other and moving the foot! It’s kind of habit at this point. I have always had tight calves. Good luck on your races!! Also…did you see my post about knee pain? You can use that technique to release the calves all the way down to the Achilles and it’s a lot easier to do than this one. Keep me posted!

        • Lin says:

          I had the same problem with shin pain–it was just too intense and felt damaging. My solution was to flip over and roll my calf on the foam roller while pressing down on top of the leg with my other leg. Why do you think some of us find it too painful on the shins and others don’t? Am I using too hard a foam roller? (I think it’s medium density.)

          • Hey Lin – we’re all shaped differently, and some people have a lot of “meat” (muscle) on the shin while other people have blades for shins with no meat at all. Other people are just more sensitive, or perhaps have unhealthy fascia surrounding the tibia (shin bone). And sometimes it’s because you’re placing your shin directly on the roller instead of at an angle (90 degrees to the roller is wrong this will hurt most people’s shins). There are plenty of other alternatives to this, including the one you described which I have video demos for as well.

    • Fritz Kysar says:

      Hi Elisha,
      I am a Crossfitter and I am in the Master class (old folks). My upper body is so tight that I do not have a front rack and I have a problem with overhead squats, and snatches. Is there a stretch that could help me? Every trainer I have worked with has a new stretch for me to try but so far nothing has helped.
      Thank you,

      • Hi Fritz – If you came to see me in CO I guarantee I’d get those elbows up! I have some amazing techniques for that, but they’re harder to mimic with self-help tools. Before I suggest anything, I need to ask if you’ve tried Kelly Starrett’s stuff for this? ROM stuff, especially related to Crossfit, is really his wheelhouse, whereas fascial release for pain relief and feeling good are my wheelhouse (online).

        My guess is you need to release your subscap, and that’s a tough one to get on your own. BUT…I do have something for you to try.

        This blog post has videos for lat and rhomboid release: https://mobilitymastery.com/how-to-relieve-pain-between-the-shoulder-blades/

        The lat release will be especially important for you, and I show you in that video how to roll towards the rear deltoid and grab that fascia for release too, which you should definitely do. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

  • >