What Is Plantar Fasciitis? Causes and Treatment

Medically Reviewed By : Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS


Plantar fasciitis is the most frequent kind of plantar fascia injury, accounting for 80% of all occurrences of heel discomfort. Women, military recruits, elderly athletes, dancers, people with obesity, and young male athletes are more likely to develop the illness.

Plantar fasciitis is thought to afflict one in every ten people at some point in their lives, with people between the ages of 40 and 60 being the most typically affected.

plantar fasciitis

What Precisely Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis, also known as plantar heel pain, is a condition affecting the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It causes discomfort in the heel and bottom of the foot, which is generally worse with the first steps of the day or after a period of rest.

Anatomy Of Plantar Fascia



What Are The Causes Of Plantar Fasciitis?


Risk factors

In the majority of instances, plantar fasciitis develops without apparent cause. However, other circumstances might make you more susceptible to the condition:

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?

How Can We Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis?

1. Physical examination:

2. Diagnostic imagination:

a) X-Ray
b) MRI

3. Diagnostic tests:

What Treatments Are Available For Plantar Fasciitis?

Non-surgical approach

More than 90% of plantar fasciitis sufferers will improve within 10 months after beginning easy treatment approaches.

1. Rest

The first stage in pain reduction is to reduce or altogether eliminate activities that aggravate the pain. You may need to discontinue sports activities that require your feet to pound on hard surfaces (such as jogging, dancing, or step aerobics). Your doctor may advise you to use a walking boot and crutches for a brief amount of time to rest your foot.

2. Altering your activities

Cycling or swimming, for example, exerts less strain on your joints and feet than walking or jogging.

3. Stretching

Tight muscles in your feet and calves cause plantar fasciitis. The most effective technique to ease the discomfort associated with this issue is to stretch your calves and plantar fascia.

Stretching the calves

Plantar fascia stretching
4. Ice
  • It is useful to roll your foot over a cold water bottle or ice for 20 minutes. This can be done three to four times each day.

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Pain and inflammation are reduced by medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Use of the medicine for more than one month should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

6. Physical therapy for the body

Your doctor may advise you to engage with a physical therapist on a stretching program for your calf muscles and plantar fascia. A physical therapy program may include specialized ice treatments, massage, and other therapies in addition to the exercises listed above to reduce inflammation around the plantar fascia.

7. Supportive footwear and orthotics

Pain while walking and standing is alleviated by wearing shoes with thick soles and additional padding. When you step and your heel hits the ground, you put a lot of strain on your fascia, which causes microtrauma (small rips in the tissue).

8. Splints for the night

The majority of individuals sleep with their feet pointed down. This relaxes the plantar fascia and contributes to morning heel discomfort. While you sleep, a night splint stretches the plantar fascia. A night splint can ease plantar fasciitis-related heel pain, though it takes some getting used to.

9. Casting

Wearing a cast for a short time can be very beneficial in the treatment of plantar fasciitis because it restricts your foot from moving, which promotes recovery. Because a cast is custom-molded to your foot and cannot be removed, it is frequently preferable to wearing a boot.

10. Injections of cortisol
11. Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

Because steroid injections might weaken the plantar fascia and produce a rupture (tear), flattening of the foot, and chronic discomfort, your doctor may limit or avoid this treatment.

12. ESWT
13. Tissue repair with ultrasound

This is a less-invasive therapy option for those with chronic plantar fasciitis. A probe is guided toward the damaged plantar fascia using ultrasound imaging. The probe’s tip then vibrates, breaking up and removing injured tissue.

Surgical approach

Because nonsurgical treatment helps more than 90% of individuals with plantar fasciitis, surgery is usually reserved for those who have not improved following 12 months of vigorous nonsurgical treatment.

1. Recession of the gastrocnemius

The calf (gastrocnemius) muscles are surgically lengthened. Because tight calf muscles put additional strain on the plantar fascia, this technique is beneficial for individuals who, after substantial calf stretching, nevertheless have difficulties extending their feet.

2. Release of a portion of the plantar fascia

A partial plantar fascia release, which is frequently done in conjunction with a gastrocnemius recession, entails creating an incision on the bottom or side of the heel. The surgeon locates the plantar fascia insertion at the heel (the point at which the ligament joins the bone) and makes a partial incision to reduce tissue tension. It is also possible to remove a big bone spur.


Plantar fasciitis, also known as plantar heel pain, is a condition affecting the plantar fascia, the connective tissue supporting the foot's arch. It causes discomfort in the heel and bottom of the foot, often worsening with the first step or rest. Risk factors include overuse, obesity, inward foot rolling, a tight Achilles tendon, and a sedentary lifestyle. The condition is characterized by microrips, collagen breakdown, and scarring at the
ligament insertion point. The diagnosis is mainly based on symptoms, with ultrasonography sometimes used. Most patients resolve with time and conservative treatment techniques. If not, physiotherapy, orthotics, splinting, or steroid injections may be considered. If ineffective, extracorporeal shockwave therapy or surgery may be considered.