Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue attached to the heel bone that supports the arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by activity that puts extra stress on the foot, such as:
- Physical exertion, especially in sports that require running and jumping such as:
- Sudden increase in exercise intensity or duration
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition or injury. The main risk factor for plantar fasciitis is physical activity that stresses the plantar fascia. Other risk factors include:
- Weight gain
- Pre-existing foot problems, including an abnormally tight Achilles tendon (heel cord), flat feet, or unusually high arches
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may come on gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- Burning pain on the sole of the foot
- Heel pain when taking the first steps in the morning
- Tenderness when touching the sole or heel
- Pain when standing on tiptoe
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and examine your foot.
Tests may include:
- X-ray or bone scan of the foot – to help rule out stress fractures or bone spurs
Rest – Avoid running and other activities that may worsen pain.
Ice – Apply ice or a cold pack to the heel and arch for 15-20 minutes, 4 times a day to relieve pain. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
Medication – The following medications can relieve pain and inflammation:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Corticosteroid injections (may be given by a doctor)
Night Splint – This splint will hold your foot in a neutral position while sleeping.
Orthotics – These special shoe inserts provide support for the mid-arch region of your foot.
Physical Therapy – Begin stretching exercises to lengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia as recommended by a health care professional.
Surgery – In a few cases, basic treatments don’t help, and surgery is performed to cut the tight, swollen fascia.
To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis:
- Wear appropriate and well-fitted footwear during sports and exercise.
- Do stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
- Increase intensity and duration of exercise gradually.
- Maintain an appropriate weight