Feet are essential to the human body, they absorb shock, adapt to various terrains, stabilize the body, support the weight, propel the body, and can also be trained to perform the tasks of the upper extremities if absent. When injured or damaged, these important functions are compromised.

Feet pain has been a common problem for all ages. You may have experienced walking with stabbing pain on your soles and feeling pins and needles upon taking your first steps after waking up. Others claim that they feel like they have bruises on their feet. 

Plantar fasciitis is among the primary musculoskeletal problems that affect the population, varying factors may lead to this condition. It may start as a dull pain and gradually intensifies. However, it usually decreases and fades away with rest. That said, check the Complete Guide to Plantar Fasciitis to understand more. 

It’s ideal to see your primary physician, a podiatrist, or a physical therapist. Keep in mind that delayed diagnoses can worsen the condition. Medical consultation is highly needed to assess the patient thoroughly, perform special tests, undergo diagnostic imaging, rule out other possible causes, and reach an accurate diagnosis. 

Plantar Fasciitis: What Is It? 

The foot’s plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that originates from the calcaneus, the heel bone, to the base of your toes. Its primary functions are to act as a shock absorber, supporting the body weight and the foot’s arch for walking or running activities.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation due to wear and tear, over-stretching, overuse, or the result of an underlying condition. The most common symptoms are pain upon first steps in the morning, increased pain after walking or running, sharp pain in your heel or surrounding area, and foot pain that lasts for weeks or months. 

Some individuals also reported tightness in the Achilles tendon, calf muscles, and other structures and pain in the toes.

When the plantar fascia experiences repetitive stress and tension, microtears can worsen, and cause inflammation and irritation. The following are the common causes of Plantar Fasciitis:

1. Presence of Structural Foot Deformities

Structural foot deformities increase stress and tension on the plantar fascia, especially if the foot is significantly pronated. Such deformities are ankle equinus, high arches, tibia vara, limb length discrepancy, pes planus or flat feet, and rearfoot valgus. 

2. Overweight or Obesity

Your feet are composed of strong bones, ligaments, tendons, and fascia that support your body. However, a highly increased weight can put more stress and tension, thus resulting in plantar fasciitis. 

3. An Athlete or Active Individual

Repetitive movements can lead to overstretching and overuse of the plantar fascia, especially if you’re playing sports or engaging in high-intensity exercises and high impact activities. 

Queries such as, ‘how can plantar fasciitis be prevented?’ rise among sports teams. Fortunately, proper preventive programs conducted by physical therapists and professional trainers can help lessen or avoid this condition.  

4. Tight Footwears

Tight footwear induces stress on the plantar fascia and prolonged stress can damage it. When you buy shoes, make sure you get the right size for you. You may also opt to get the next size to provide an extra room if you use socks. 

5. Age 

Individuals in the age range of 40 to 60 years old are at high risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Aging leads to cellular degeneration, affecting the strength and resistance of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and other tissues. 

Especially in older women, menopause causes estrogen and other hormones to deplete, thus structures such as the plantar fascia are prone to damage and degeneration. 

Female foot heel pain with red spot, plantar fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis requires immediate medical attention to prevent it from worsening. The following common treatments can be incorporated to help the individual free of pain and live a good quality of life:

1. Medications

Upon your first doctor’s appointment, the physician will prescribe you analgesic medications to help alleviate, if not fully treat pain and inflammation. Likewise, the doctor will also develop the proper treatment regimen for your case. 

The severity of plantar fasciitis can range from mild to severe, and the treatment can be either conservative or immediate surgical procedure. 

2. Physical Therapy (PT)

Your primary physician may recommend you for physical therapy treatment or you may consult with them directly. PT is a combination of manual and machine management. Such as the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound (US), and shock wave therapy (SWT) for pain relief and muscle and nerve stimulation.

You’ll learn different types of exercises which you may also perform at home. Prolonged pain causes apprehension and voluntary movement restriction, leading to joint stiffness or muscle atrophy. PT rehabilitation is essential to address various musculoskeletal issues.

3. Steroid Injection

Steroid injections can help treat chronic pain for weeks or months. Athletes and active individuals often opt for this type of treatment. However, elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions may not qualify because it can further weaken the plantar fascia and worsen the condition. 

4. Orthotics

Your primary physician or attending PT may advise you to have custom-fitted arch supports and splints to help relieve stress and tension on the plantar fascia. In some cases, canes or crutches are used together with orthotics to ensure the patient’s comfort and reduce fall risks. 

5. Surgery

Surgery is needed in severe cases where the plantar fascia is beyond repair, causes extreme pain, and impinges on the surrounding structures. The recovery period may last long, however, it can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life.

Taking All Into Consideration

Foot pain is common nowadays, it can only be a result of fatigue due to prolonged walking or running. However, when the pain intensifies and lasts for weeks, immediate medical attention must be given to prevent worsening. Proper knowledge about plantar fasciitis is necessary to know how to prevent it, determine its mechanism of injury (MOI), and the various treatment options you can choose from.