Plantar Fasciitis Prevention and Treatment

Intrinsic Stretch for Plantar Fascia
Intrinsic Stretch for Plantar Fascia. Wendy Bumgardner ©

If you have heel pain in the morning or after sitting a long time, then you probably have plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis is the result of bone or nerve irritation from too much tension, inflammation, or scar tissue in the fascia -- the ligament on the bottom of the foot. The pain often increases with more walking and with standing. The pain is usually felt where the fascia attaches to the heel, but it can be felt over the entire bottom area of the foot.

A heel spur is a growth of bone from the heel that is often associated with plantar fasciitis pain. It can develop when you have plantar fasciitis for a long time and a calcium deposit forms where the plantar fascia attaches to your heel bone. Its treatment is the same as for plantar fasciitis.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are debilitating conditions for a walker, since walking through the pain can simply lead to more pain and months of recovery. Walkers don't necessarily get plantar fasciitis more often than the general population. It can be caused by bad shoes, being overweight, or putting an abnormal load on your feet.

Getting Help for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis might last for just a few weeks, or it can become chronic. You should consult your doctor or a podiatrist if your foot pain is ongoing. They can recommend specific treatments for your condition.

Usually the treatment will be stretching and pain relief. But in some cases they will recommend shock wave therapy, cortisone injection, or surgery.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

  • 1. Rest: The foot needs time to heal without further irritation. You should walk and run less once you are feeling plantar fasciitis pain.
  • 2. Icing: Cold therapy is good for calming inflammation. Put a cold pack on your foot after walking. Treat with cold for 15 minutes. Ice Bottle Massage for Plantar Fasciitis
  • 3. Self-Massage: This will help restore foot flexibility and gently mobilize the fascia. Before you get out of bed in the morning, or after sitting for a long period, use long massage strokes from the ball of the foot to the heel of the foot.
  • 4. Night Splint: When you sleep, your foot relaxes in a way that lets the plantar fascia tighten up. A night splint holds your foot in the position it would be in when you stand, so the plantar fascia remains stretched out. Then, stepping out of bed in the morning doesn't cause a sudden stretching of the fascia which might re-injure it. A study found that use of the night splint gives you a significantly shorter recovery time than just using stretching.
  • Custom Arch Supports and Orthotics: A podiatrist can prescribe an orthotic to correct the gait problems that may have contributed to you developing plantar fasciitis, and to relieve pressure on your foot.

    Plantar Fasciitis Stretches

    Stretches are used once you have gotten over the initial pain and swelling, not while you are still hurting. Do these static stretches three times a day and keep doing them, which might help prevent recurrence of plantar fasciitis and heel spur.

    Top Picks for Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis Relief


    Lance D. Barry, DPM et al. "A Retrospective Study of Standing Gastrocnemius-Soleus Stretching versus Night Splinting in the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis," The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Volume 41, Number 4, July/August 2002.

    Heel Pain, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, accessed 4/4/2016.

    Plantar Fasciitis, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, accessed 4/4/2016.

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