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Plantar Fasciitis

(Plantar Fasciosis)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
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Plantar means something on your foot. Fascia is one of the kinds of tissue that connect different body parts (called connective tissue). So the plantar fascia is a band of tissue that connects the heel and ball of your foot.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is foot pain caused by a problem with your plantar fascia. It's sometimes called plantar fasciosis.

  • It's the most common cause of heel pain

  • The pain is often worse when you start walking first thing in the morning and after periods of rest

  • It's common in people who spend a lot of time on their feet

  • Stretching, applying ice, and changing shoes can help

  • Doctors sometimes give you corticosteroid shots

Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue between your heel bone and the ball of your foot.

Plantar Fascia

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused by strain, tearing, or wearing out of the tough band of tissue in your feet called the plantar fascia.

Strains or tears of the fascia are more likely to happen if you:

  • Wear high heels

  • Are a runner or dancer

  • Sit all the time

  • Spend a lot of time on your feet on very hard surfaces

  • Have tight calf muscles

  • Have flat feet or very high arches

The following may cause plantar fasciosis or make it worse:

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

The main symptom is:

  • Pain in your heel when you put weight on your foot

You usually have the heel pain first thing in the morning, but it goes away in 5 or 10 minutes. It usually comes back later in the day.

How can doctors tell if I have plantar fasciitis?

To tell if you have plantar fasciitis, doctors will do a physical exam. If they think your fascia may have torn or your pain is coming from another problem, they may do tests such as:

How do doctors treat plantar fasciitis?

To lessen pain and lower the stress on your foot:

  • Take smaller steps

  • Don't walk barefoot

  • Avoid jogging and other high-impact activities

  • Lose weight, if you're overweight

  • Do stretches of your calves and feet

Doctors may have you:

  • Rest and put ice on your foot

  • Take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen

  • Wear a splint at night to stretch the muscle

  • Wear special devices (orthotics) that fit in your shoe

  • Do physical therapy

  • Get corticosteroid injections into your heel

If your pain doesn't get better, doctors may:

  • Put a cast on your foot for a while

  • Apply sound waves to the heel to improve your circulation and lessen the pain (extracorporeal pulse activation therapy)

  • Do surgery

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