Plantar Fasciitis Basics

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  • Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes mild to severe foot pain.
  • Although plantar fasciitis can affect all age groups, it is most common in active males ages 40-70.
  • There are daily therapeutic exercises you can engage in to help prevent and treat mild cases of plantar fasciitis.


Do you suffer from intense foot or heel pain? It’s possible you may have plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes and supporting the arch of your foot, constricts and stretches as you flex your foot and walk. It has similar elastic qualities to a rubber band.

Plantar Fasciitis presents itself as swelling, irritation, or damage to the ligaments (soft, fibrous tissue) that run along the bottom of the foot between the heel bone and the toes.

Pain ranges from mild to severe, depending on the source of inflammation and how quickly treatment starts. Delaying treatment tends to cause more damage.

Luckily, treatment options are normally non-invasive and include over-the-counter analgesics and therapeutic exercises.Severe cases may require surgery and assisted physical therapy.

Common causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Overexertion during physical activity
  • Improper gait and unequal weight distribution
  • Pregnancy hormones
  • Shoes that lack proper support and cushioning

Arthritis and bone spurs can also cause or aggravate the condition.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Although plantar fasciitis can affect all age groups, it is most common among men, especially professional and casual athletes, between the ages of 40 and 70. Symptoms include:

  • Pain along the lower inside edge or bottom of the foot
  • An aching sensation or intermittent stabbing pain in the heel
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling, and redness after physical activity or prolonged periods of walking or running
  • A feeling of having a marble embedded in the heel when walking or when pressure is put on the heel pad
  • Increased pain and discomfort first thing in the morning and after standing or sitting for extended periods

Diagnosis for Plantar Fasciitis

There is no definitive test to diagnose plantar fasciitis. Doctors usually complete a physical examination of the foot to look for pain-points, sensitivity to touch, swelling, and bone structure.

A physician might order x-rays or an MRI to rule out bone spurs and avulsion fractures in the heel and ankle. In addition to examining the foot, doctors consider muscle strength and tone in the foot and calf.

The doctor evaluates gait, weight distribution, and overall balance, by observing a patient walk.

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Treatment Paths for Plantar Fasciitis

It can take as little as a few months, or up to two years to recover from plantar fasciitis, depending on the source of ligament damage, and whether surgery is required.

– Orthopedists

Orthopedists usually prescribe home treatments and less invasive therapies first, unless they find a bone spur or other significant structural problem. Home treatments include taking ibuprofen and applying ice packs to relieve swelling.

– Moderate Exercise

Moderate exercise and wearing shoes that fit properly will help relieve the pain in many cases. Women should wear flat or low heeled-shoes with ample support.

– Other treatments include

The first step is to commit to a plan. Use our free workout plan finder to help you find some therapeutic options for stretching and total body health.

And then track your daily victories with our advanced stats to keep you motivated and focused on your big goals. Sign up for our Pro annual plan today!

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*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Exercise.com.