by Badash M

Plantar Fasciitis

Definition

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue attached to the heel bone. It supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Plantar fasciitis is caused by small, repetitive trauma to the plantar fascia. This trauma can be due to activity that puts extra stress on the foot.

Risk Factors

Plantar fasciitis is most common in people who are 40-60 years old. Other risk factors that increase your chance of getting plantar fasciitis include:
  • Physical exertion, especially in sports such as:
    • Running
    • Volleyball
    • Tennis
  • A sudden increase in exercise intensity or duration
  • Physical activity that stresses the plantar fascia
  • People who spend a lot of time standing
  • A sudden increase in activities that affect the feet
  • Obesity or weight gain
  • Pre-existing foot problems, including an abnormally tight Achilles tendon, flat feet, or an ankle that rolls inward too much
  • Poor footwear
  • Heel spurs

Symptoms

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may start gradually or happen suddenly. They include:
  • Pain on the sole of the foot near the heel
  • Heel pain when taking the first steps in the morning
  • Tenderness when touching the sole or heel
  • Pain that increases over a period of months

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A foot exam will be done. This will usually make the diagnosis.
Imaging studies of the foot may be done to help rule out stress fractures or other bone abnormalities. These include:

Treatment

Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Supportive Care

Your foot will need time to heal. Supportive care may include:
  • Rest—Activities, such as running, may need to be restricted.
  • Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve pain.
  • Night splint—A night splint helps to hold the foot in a neutral position while sleeping.
  • Orthotics—Special shoe inserts will help to support the mid-arch region of the foot.
Stretches to lengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia may be advised when pain has lessened.
Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication may be advised. Steroid injections may also be used in some cases if other treatments do not provide relief.

Procedures

A special type of sound wave called extracorporeal shock wave may also be considered in certain cases. This treatment happens under the care of your doctor. At this time, this is generally a treatment for long-term cases that do not respond to other treatments. Massage therapy or acupuncture may also be effective for long-term cases.

Surgery

In a few cases, basic treatments don't help. Surgery may be performed to cut the tight, swollen fascia.

Prevention

To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis take these steps:
  • Wear appropriate and well-fitted footwear during sports and exercise.
  • Do stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
  • Increase the intensity and duration of exercise gradually.
  • Maintain an appropriate weight.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
http://www.aapmr.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Ontario Podiatric Medical Association
http://www.opma.ca
Orthogate
http://www.orthogate.org

References

Plantar fasciitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 23, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2015.
Plantar fasciitis. Focus on the basics. Mayo Clin Health Lett. 2012;30(8):7.
Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00149. Updated June 2010. Accessed March 2, 2015.
Pommering TL. Ankle and foot injuries in pediatric and adult athletes. Prim Care. 2005;32:133-161.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Baldassin V, Gomes CR, et al. Effectiveness of prefabricated and customized foot orthoses made from low-cost foam for noncomplicated plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009;90:701-706.
4/24/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Wise JN, Weissman BN, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ChronicFootPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed March 2, 2015.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











The tendons connect muscle to bone and often connect near a joint. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon, causing pain, inflammation, and limited movement. Tendinopathy...

Rotator cuff injury may include tendinitis, strain, or tear of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and 4 separate tendons that fuse together to surro...

Tendonopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. The injury can include: The peroneal tendons run along the outside of the ank...

Calcific tendonitis occurs when calcium deposits form in the tendons in the shoulder....

Anserine tendinobursitis syndrome is a pain to the inner part of the leg, just below the knee joint. It is at a location where three tendons meet and connect to bone. The...

Adhesive capsulitis is a tightening in the shoulder joint. It decreases the range of motion in the shoulder and causes pain. This condition is also known as frozen should...

Adhesive capsulitis is a tightening in the shoulder joint. It decreases the range of motion in the shoulder and causes pain. This condition is also known as frozen should...

9 Metatarsalgia condition

Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the ball of your foot. You may also feel pain in the big toe or the 3 toes closest to the big toe....

Tendonopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limit movement. The injuries can include: The posterior tibial tendon runs from the posterior t...

11 Types of Foot Pain condition indepth
12 Treatments for Foot Pain condition indepth
16 Screening for Foot Pain condition indepth
17 Risk Factors for Foot Pain condition indepth
18 Resource Guide for Foot Pain condition indepth