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Plantar Fasciitis: Causes and Treatments

If you’re suffering with heel pain, plantar fasciitis may be to blame – especially if you’re a runner. One of the tell-tale signs of the condition is a stabbing pain in the heel when you take your first steps in the morning. The pain usually subsides after you get up and start moving around.

But the pain can be intense, and it might return after standing or sitting for a long period of time.

Plantar fasciitis tends to be more common in runners, but you can also develop this condition if you’re overweight and/or wear shoes that don’t have adequate support.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the result of inflammation in the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, and connects your heel bone to your toes.

The plantar fascia (that band of tissue along the bottom of your foot) typically acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring that supports the arch in your foot. Small tears can arise in the fascia if tension and stress are put on this “bowstring.” Over time, repetitive stretching and tearing can cause inflammation.

If you feel like you are experiencing early signs of Plantar Fasciitis, you could take preventive measures to help with the pain and swelling. This is when you should use compression socks. It’s a small change that could make a big difference.

Usually, the direct cause of plantar fasciitis isn’t clear, but there are many factors that can contribute to this condition, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender – it’s more common in women
  • Being overweight
  • Standing on your feet for several hours a day
  • Having flat feet or very high arches
  • Wearing worn-out shoes with thin soles
  • Having tight Achilles tendons
  • Regularly wearing high-heeled shoes
  • Having an unusual foot position or walk

Although plantar fasciitis is a common condition, it’s not one that should be ignored. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to chronic heel pain that interferes with your daily activities. And if you change the way you walk just to avoid pain, you may wind up injuring your feet, hips, knees and/or back.

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Before you can start treating this condition, you need to first get a diagnosis from your doctor or podiatrist.

Typically, a diagnosis is made based on medical history and a physical examination. During the physical examination, the doctor will look for areas of tenderness in the foot. Knowing where your pain is located can help your doctor determine its cause.

In most cases, you won’t need any tests. Some doctors may recommend getting an X-ray or an MRI to make sure that another issue isn’t causing the pain, such as a pinched nerve or a stress fracture.

Most people with plantar fasciitis are able to recover in a few months using conservative treatments, such as icing the painful areas, resting, and stretching. And as mentioned earlier, compression socks are something you can wear every day, but first, you should try a few out to see which is best for you.

Other treatment options include:


Certain exercises and therapeutic devices may be able to speed up the recovery process. These include:

  • Orthotics: Custom-fitted arch supports may be prescribed to help distribute the pressure in your feet more evenly. You can also wear plantar fasciitis socks (read our Mindinsole Compression Socks reviews to learn more) to help ease your pain.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist may give you a series of exercises to perform to stretch the plantar fascia as well as the Achilles tendon. Exercises may also be given to strengthen the lower leg muscles, which will help stabilize the heel and ankle.
  • Night Splints: Your doctor may recommend wearing a splint that stretches your calf and arch of your foot while you sleep.


Your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers to deal with the pain, such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, etc.), or naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Other Procedures and Therapies

If conservative methods aren’t giving you relief, your doctor may recommend something more aggressive, such as:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves are directed at the affected area to stimulate healing. It’s typically recommended for chronic forms of plantar fasciitis that haven’t responded to conservative treatments. The procedure does have side effects, such as tingling, numbness, bruising, swelling and pain.
  • Injections: Injecting steroid medications into the painful area may provide temporary relief. Multiple injections are not recommended, as this can weaken the plantar fascia.
  • Tenex procedure: A minimally-invasive procedure that removes scar tissue from the plantar fascia.
  • Surgery: Very few people will need surgery for this condition. During this procedure, the plantar fascia is actually detached from the heel bone. Doctors will typically only perform surgery as a last resort when pain is severe and no other treatments are working.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

Along with conventional treatment, there are many lifestyle changes and remedies you can try to alleviate pain. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce the risk of developing this condition by minimizing the stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Applying ice: Ice the affected area 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times per day or after activity. You can also try an ice bottle massage.
  • Wearing the right shoes: Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. Choose shoes that offer good arch support and shock absorbency. Avoid wearing shoes that are worn out. If you’re a runner, replace your shoes after 400-500 miles of use.
  • Stretching your arches: Follow simple exercises to stretch your plantar fascia, calf muscles and Achilles tendon.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

While there’s no surefire way to prevent plantar fasciitis, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing this painful condition.


Learn how to relax your lower leg muscles, especially your calves and ankles, whenever you’re walking, sitting, running or standing. Any tension in your legs or glutes will put more pressure on your Plantar tendon whenever you move.

Lead with Your Upper Body When Running

Instead of pulling yourself forward with your legs when running, lead with your upper body and let your legs follow. Try leaning slightly from your ankles and keeping your stride short. Make sure that you’re landing with your feet directly under your center of mass.

Land with a Midfoot Strike

Make sure that you’re landing on the middle of your foot instead of your heel. Doing so will keep your plantar fascia relaxed and also reduce the impact on your heels.

December 6, 2020
  • Blog


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