What Is Plantar Fasciitis and How Can I Treat It?

what is plantar fasciitis

You get out of the bed in the morning and as you take your first steps to the kitchen you feel a burning, stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot. You think you might have plantar fasciitis. But you’re not really sure?   What is plantar fasciitis and how do you treat it”  is a question that many ask.

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and occurs at the “plantar fascia” on your foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot by stretching slightly when you step down and then shortens back to maintain the arch and support your weight as you walk. The plantar fascia absorbs a great deal of weight when walking and especially when running and is therefore prone to injury.

What is Plantar Fasciitis (PF)
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia generally caused by small tears or over-stretching of the plantar fascia.

Check out our video “How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis with a PF Lift” View Video

Common causes include:

  • Walking, standing, running for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces. Athletes are at greater risk of experiencing PF
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or don’t provide sufficient cushioning when exercising or standing for long periods
  • Arthritis that causes general inflammation in the joints and tendons can also be a contributing cause of PF
  • Excessive pronation (feet roll inward while standing or walking)

Symptoms
The most common symptom is a sharp stabbing or burning pain in the heel on the inside of the foot. Pain is most commonly felt in the morning when first walking and stretching the foot. This is thought to be due to the fact that while you sleep, the plantar fascia shortens and when you stand in the morning, the inflamed or torn fibers of the plantar fascia are stretched, causing pain. Once the foot limbers up, the pain usually diminishes but it may return after long periods of standing, climbing stairs or getting up from a seated position. The pain may lessen throughout the day only to return later.

Treatment
Immediate Treatment
Give your feet a rest and try not to walk or run on hard surfaces. You can help reduce pain and swelling by icing the foot for 10-15 minutes after exercising and taking anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

Other Treatment Options

  • Rub the bottom of your foot vigorously before putting any weight on it in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting – this will warm up the fascia to prevent recurring micro tears
  • Doing exercises such as calf and toe stretches before you get out of bed and taking your first step is recommended
  • Firmly pressing on and rolling a tennis ball under your foot is a good way to achieve a deep massage
  • A foot brace or splint that keeps a slight stretch on the arch can be very helpful. Choose a splint that that can be used at night or worn in shoes during the day, such as the FS6 Compression Foot Sleeve 3pp® PF Lift,  or the 3pp® Arch Lift.
  • Wear shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole
  • Orthotics may be recommended. Orthotics are insoles that go inside your shoes to provide added arch support, especially if you stand or run for long periods of time; wear both orthotics even if only one foot hurts
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe a cortisone shot in your heel to help reduce inflammation

Treatment can last a few weeks, but could take up to several months to a year. It is important to follow your healthcare providers instructions consistently. If symptoms persist after a year of treatment, surgery may be an option, but it’s not common.

How can I prevent it from coming back?

Wear supportive shoes and replace athletic shoes regularly.  If prescribed orthotics, wear them as directed and continue stretching and exercises, especially in the morning. Increase athletic activity gradually to reduce the chance of a flare up. For example, a runner should not increase mileage by more than 10% a week. If your foot still hurts in the morning, wear your splint while sleeping. This will help keep the arch tissue loose.

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Looking for More Information on Foot Braces to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Click on the images below

FS6 Compression Foot Sleeve

FS6 Compression Foot Sleeve

3pp® PF Lift

3pp® PF Lift

3pp Arch Lift

3pp® Arch Lift™

Topricin Foot Cream for Plantar Fasciitis

Topricin Foot Pain Relief Cream

Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.

16 Responses to What Is Plantar Fasciitis and How Can I Treat It?

  1. Finley Moreira says:

    It’s good to know that a physical examination is generally necessary to diagnose plantar fasciitis. I’ve been doing some running lately, and my left foot has been giving me a lot of problems along my archway. I suspect it may be plantar fasciitis, but I’ll make sure to have it checked out by a specialist before pursuing any sort of treatment options.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I like your article because its written in amazing real way and information is useful

  3. John Brennan says:

    Thanks for the great article.
    It’s information like this that really makes a difference for plantar fasciitis sufferers.

    Thanks again!

  4. Kourtney Jensen says:

    My mom suffers from plantar fasciitis and is a very painful condition. She had to seek help from a foot doctor to help her in the treatment and healing process. Along with seeing a doctor, I like the tips you gave that you can do on your own, like rolling a tennis ball on the bottom of your foo, or calf exercises to stretch out the muscles. Home care and exercise makes a huge difference in feeling better and is something that I will be seeing if my mom does.

  5. Tim D says:

    I tried the massage with the tennis ball so far, but I think I should give a go to the morning stretch exercises as well.

  6. Maggie Allen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this information on Plantar Fasciitis, and how it is treated. The fact that your shoes can cause this show just how sensitive your feet really are. In my opinion, if you are experiencing any heel pain like this, going to a doctor would be a good idea. Having professional treatment can help ensure that you don’t have to have more extreme treatments, like the cortisone.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is a comprehensive and thorough report on what plantar fasciitis is, how it can happen and it can be treated. It is very important to take steps to understand how plantar fasciitis is caused to prevent it.

  8. Gaston Parizeau says:

    I definitely agree that you should rest your feet when you are dealing with plantar fasciitis, as the article suggests. In the past, I have at times felt like I didn’t want to slow down, or stop running for a while, but I soon learned that I really needed to. I learned that if I didn’t take a break then, when the plantar fasciitis was still fairly minor, I would end up having no choice but to take a longer break later, after it became more serious.

  9. Jamarcus Dantley says:

    In college I used to work at a physical therapy clinic where we would often see people with plantar fasciitis. It is an ailment that seems downright miserable. I agree with your tip about orthotics, because that’s something that seemed to help a lot. Thanks for sharing a few more tips!

  10. Caleb Hart says:

    I didn’t know what plantar fasciitis was until I read this. My wife has been experiencing foot pain for the longest time. I suppose that this could be it. She really needs to buy a new pair of shoes with more support.

    • Gwolfe says:

      I am glad you found our information on plantar fasciitis helpful. In addition to a change of shoes– strengthening and stretching exercises, a night splint and anti-inflammatories can all help to relieve your wife’s symptoms. With that said, its important for your wife to consult with a healthcare professional or specialist who can do an examination of her foot for a correct diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.

      I hope her plantar fasciitis feels better soon.

  11. Susan Hirst says:

    I appreciate this information. I’ve had this stabbing pain in my heel for over a month and it is miserable. I told one of my friends about it and she mentioned something about plantar fasciitis. I didn’t know much about it, so I started doing some research. The information that you provided was most helpful.

  12. Deanna R. Jones says:

    I’ve suspected that I have plantar fasciitis ever since I noticed a sharp pain in my feet. It’s the worst when I’m at work, since I have to be on my feet for eight hours every day. It never occurred to me that standing and walking for long periods of time might be what’s causing the pain in my feet. That would explain why I’ve been experiencing sharp foot pains. It seems like a good idea to ice and massage my feet after I get off work. Thanks for the tips!

  13. Mia Boyd says:

    Thanks for the information. I’ve been struggling lately with plantar fasciitis, so these tips are really helpful. I’ve been looking for different ways to help it. Would you suggest getting custom orthotics? I’ve heard that they make a big difference in your foot and ankle health.

    • Gwolfe says:

      Hi Mia,

      We are glad you found our information on plantar fasciitis helpful. While there are treatments that may be effective-such as rest, stretching, strengthening, change of shoes, splints and orthotics– PF can be stubborn and unfortunately in many cases there isn’t an “instant fix”.

      Since treatments vary depending on the cause of your problem, how long you have had it and the severity, knowing what will work for you is not something we can predict. With that said, there is some evidence that custom orthotics may help.

      Your best course of action is to consult with your healthcare professional or a specialist who can do an examination of your foot and give you recommendations for treatment. Although you can tackle Plantar Fasciitis on your own, consulting with a professional can help speed up the healing process.

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