Friday, March 6, 2015

Plantar Fasciitis – Arch Pain

Plantar fasciitis is when a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia) becomes inflamed and starts to hurt.  The stabbing pain that is usually associated with plantar fasciitis usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning, after standing for long periods of time or after standing up after sitting for a long period of time.1

People that are at an increased risk for plantar fasciitis are people who are overweight, people who wear unsupported shoes, runners, ballet dancers, people with flat feet, people with high arches and people with limited ankle dorsiflexion (moving toes towards shin).  Studies have also shown that having tight posterior muscles (hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendon) are also at an increased risk for developing plantar fasciitis.2 Plantar fasciitis can develop with tight posterior muscles because it limits ankle dorsiflexion that is needed when walking and running.

Sleep posture may also increase risk of plantar fasciitis.  Sleeping on your back with your feetunder a blanket or sleeping on your stomach may cause your ankle to plantar flex (point toes), causing shortening of the muscles and tendons, causing tight calf muscles and plantar fascia pain.

There are many ways to treat plantar fasciitis.  Finding the right treatment depends on what is causing the inflammation and pain.  If someone is overweight, a change of diet and exercise that does not cause pain may be the best treatment.  Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, orthotics, ultrasound and night splints are common treatments for plantar fasciitis.  More invasive treatments are steroid injections and surgery.3

Plantar fasciitis can last a very long time if not taken care of.  Just like a car needs a great set of tires, your feet need proper support as well.  Take care of your feet, you only get one pair.

1. Plantar fasciitis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2015, from
2.Bolivar, Y., Munuera, P., & Padillo, J. Relationship Between Tightness of the Posterior Muscles of the Lower Limb and Plantar Fasciitis. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, 31, 42-48

3.Ellis, J., & Henderson, J. (1994). Plantar Fasciitis: Arch Pain. In Running injury-free: How to prevent, treat, and recover from dozens of painful problems (pp. 138-147). Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press.


  1. From living an active lifestyle I have battled with plantar fasciitis and from experience it is one of the most annoying injuries that someone can get. Because in my experience the only way you can heal is to stop doing the things that caused it in the first place. This can be difficult for an active person because you have to be patient, and for someone who is used to working out everyday that can be frustrating, especially for a runner.

  2. As an athletic trainer I see this injury quite often. Especially in the track and cross country athletes. This injury seems so minor sometimes but it can be very painful and can sometimes limit athletes as to what they can and can't do. I have found that rolling out with a frozen water bottle works really well and I usually recommend this to my athletes. Plantar fasciitis can also lead to other injuries even in the upper body because the foot contact on the ground is where the beginning of all of our movement comes from.

  3. In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods, than in giving health to men. Great advice! I love the prevention tips. Thanks for sharing.