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Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is due to inflammation of the plantar fascia; a strong band of tissue that helps to support the arch of the foot. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis may prevent you from doing the activities you want to do.

If you think you have plantar fasciitis one of our podiatrists will be able to help. Our podiatrists will aim to alleviate the painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis and provide treatment and advice that will help to prevent it from returning.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that helps to maintain the arch of the foot and aids shock absorption. The plantar fascia connects the ball of the foot to the heel. Sometimes the plantar fascia can become inflamed, which happens when small tears (known as 'micro tears') develop in the fascia. Micro tears occur as a result of stress and chronic irritation.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can occur for a number of reasons. The most common causes are overloading of the plantar fascia, this is because the planter fascia acts as an elastic band that maintains the arch and then stretches out with every step as the foot hits the ground or when standing.

Overloading and stretching of the plantar fascia may be caused by:

  • Flat feet and over pronation
  • Standing for long periods
  • Unstable footwear (shoes that have no support)
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Obesity
  • High arches
Some people are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis than others, these include:

  • Those with certain medical conditions, such as those associated with inflammation (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
  • People between the ages of 40 and 60

What are the signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

The signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the sole of the foot. The pain is worse first thing in the morning upon standing and is described as burning and sharp
  • Swelling around the heel

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

A podiatrist at will be able to diagnose plantar fasciitis. It is important to visit a podiatrist so that other causes of heel pain can be ruled out. The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis will be made based on a thorough history, physical signs and symptoms and an examination of the area. The podiatrist may perform a couple of tests in order to replicate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Benefit of podiatry for plantar fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis can help you. The following is a list of benefits that can be achieved following podiatric intervention for plantar fasciitis:

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improved gait
  • Improved foot and lower limb function
  • Decrease in muscle tightness
Podiatric benefits for plantar fasciitis are achieved by not only easing any painful symptoms, but by addressing the cause. The initial painful symptoms can be eased with appropriate anti-inflammatory advice and massage, whereas the cause is addresses via a stretching programme, orthoses, or a combination of the two.

What would podiatry for plantar fasciitis involve?

One of our podiatrists would first need to obtain a thorough medical history, as well as a history of the problem itself (e.g. when it started, what makes it worse/better). They will then perform a test in order to replicate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Once a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis has been made it is important to look at the reasons behind its development. If foot posture is the root cause you may be referred for a biomechanical assessment. Other treatment options include:


Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that connects the heel to the metatarsals, its job is to support the arch of the foot and aid shock absorption. Inflammation of the plantar fascia occurs due to micro tears in the fascia, and this leads to pain at the bottom of the heel where the fascia inserts. The pain is typically worse first thing in the morning and is described as sharp and burning. There is lots that can be done to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, the treatment best for you will be based on a mutually agreed decision between you and the podiatrist.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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