Heel That Pain – Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is a repetitive strain injury to the thick band of connective tissue, called the Plantar Fascia, which runs underneath the foot and gives extra support and stability when standing and walking. As it is a major load bearing structure of the foot it is predisposed to strain, especially during sports where impact forces are higher and therefore strain on the Fascia is increased.

How do I know if I've got it?

Typical symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include pain first thing in the morning, usually in the heel or inside of the arch or after sitting for a period of time and then standing.  It can also hurt on walking and running but usually tends to hurt more after exercise, up to 24 hours later.

What causes it?

There are many possible causes of Plantar faciitis, including tightness in the calf muscles increasing tensile strain on the plantar fascia, high BMI, and a history of previous injury. These are just a few causes but any sporting activity that causes excessive loading strain on the fascia beyond what it can tolerate can aggravate the condition.

What can I do?

In the early stages, reducing impact related exercises which increase pain, wearing supportive shoes, stretching the calf muscles daily and stretching the foot muscles by pulling the toes upwards can help. Bear in mind that you may not get much pain during running and walking but might experience pain more after exercise or even the next day. If symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks despite these measures it is best to stop any impact exercise and give us a call.

How can we help?

A typical treatment programme at Active Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis will include:-

Shockwave or laser therapy for pain relief and to accelerate the healing response.

Sports taping and orthotic insoles to ease strain on the Fascia during the healing process.

Footwear modification where needed to give proper support and cushioning against impact.

Strengthening exercises to strengthen the plantar fascia and important supporting structures in the lower limb such as the calf, gluteal and hamstring muscles.

All of the above are evidence based treatments aimed at speeding recovery from this injury so don't delay if you need help.

What else can cause heel pain?

Whilst Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot injury, pain in the heel or foot can also be caused by a number of other conditions, such as:-

Trapped nerve

Stress fracture

Achilles tendinopathies

Referred pain.

Heel pad bruising

Treatment for the above conditions may differ from that of Plantar Fasciitis, so it is important to make sure you have an accurate diagnosis from a suitably qualified health professional before proceeding with a treatment plan.

In summary, Plantar Fasciitis, although irritating, can usually be successfully treated with a proper management plan. As with all injuries, the sooner it is treated, the quicker it will heal.


I have a small favour to ask you.

Tim Veysey-Smith Cross Country RunningI produce these blogs for the benefit of the running community and I want as many runners as possible to benefit from these. It would really help me if you could take a moment to share these articles with your friends on social media and any relevant groups or forums that you may be subscribed to.

Please feel free to post any questions and comments if these blog post raise any issues for you. Thanks from a fellow runner!

Leave a Comment