Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia—tissue that travels across the arch, connecting the heel to the ball of the foot—becomes inflamed or tears. A common foot condition, plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain, especially when applying pressure or weight to the foot. Pain can be felt across the entire bottom of the foot or locally in the heel, arch, or ball. Typically, repeated, weight-bearing activities cause plantar fasciitis, which makes it common among runners. However, many factors play into its development, including age, occupation, level of activity or athleticism, body weight, and degree of flat-footedness. Physical therapists can diagnose plantar fasciitis. Diagnosis may include palpation of the soft tissue and stretching the foot and ankle. Once diagnosed, physical therapists will develop treatment plans, which will feature flexibility and strengthening exercises and stretches, footwear consultation, and prescription of a night splint. To prevent plantar fasciitis from occurring or reoccurring or manage current plantar fasciitis, it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight; wear footwear that features proper arch support and shock absorption; and stretch before and after walking and running. Also, an ergonomic mat can help for occupations that involve long periods of standing.