Signs of Plantar Fasciitis & What to Do About It | PT Effect

Signs of Plantar Fasciitis & What to Do About It

Treat plantar fasciitis at home with stretches and icing
Read Time: 3.5 min
Sep 20, 2021

Approximately two million Americans seek treatment for foot pain and are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis each year. Even more may go undiagnosed because they don’t seek treatment for their foot pain.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Definition Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain caused by inflammation in the tissue (called the fascia) that runs along the bottom of your foot.

What Are the Signs of Plantar Fasciitis?

The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is foot pain. The pain is typically located either at the heel or in the middle of the bottom of the foot. While uncommon, plantar fasciitis can be present in both feet at the same time. The pain is most often stabbing and sharp, but it can also be dull.

Plantar fasciitis pain usually comes on gradually and may also take a long time to heal even after treatment, depending on the treatment used. It tends to be most painful first thing in the morning, after prolonged periods of inactivity, while standing for long periods of time, or after exercise.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Diagram of foot

Plantar fasciitis happens when your plantar fascia, the long ligament located on the bottom of your foot that connects the front of your foot to your heel, becomes inflamed and irritated. While the plantar fascia is designed to handle the strain we put on our feet by walking, running, jumping, and more, it’s possible to damage and tear the tissue by putting too much pressure on it. For this reason, it’s more common in runners than in non-runners. However, non-runners can still suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Who Can Get Plantar Fasciitis?

While anyone can develop plantar fasciitis, there are certain factors that many plantar fasciitis sufferers have in common. The factors that can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis can include:

  • Age (more prevalent between 40 and 60)
  • Running
  • Ballet
  • Aerobic dance
  • Obesity
  • Abnormal walking pattern
  • Flat feet
  • High arch
  • Occupations that involve standing (retail, teaching, factory work)

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

At home, you can treat plantar fasciitis by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, resting the foot, icing it, and using a foot brace. These home remedies are typically the first treatments done. If they don’t work your doctor may move on to the next treatment option.

Your physical therapist can show you how to stretch and work out your foot to treat the plantar fasciitis at home. In some very severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

To prevent plantar fasciitis from occurring or reoccurring, there are some steps you can take. Even after plantar fasciitis has gone away, you can continue doing the stretches and exercises you did while you had it. You can also lose weight if you’re overweight or obese, as excess weight can put more pressure on your plantar fascia. Additionally, you should make sure to give your feet a rest and make sure that at least some of your exercise is low-impact.

Footwear is another important factor in preventing plantar fasciitis. Get shoes with good arch support and replace your shoes when needed. This is especially important if you’re a runner because running shoes wear out faster. You should avoid shoes that have no arch support, such as flip-flops.

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Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS

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Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.


Mark Shulman

Dr. Allison McKay

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), PRPC

Co-Founder


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