Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the foot. It is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel bone to the toes. This condition is common among athletes, particularly runners, as well as people who spend a lot of time on their feet or wear constricting footwear (pointed shoes).

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel or arch of the foot. The pain is usually most severe in the morning, or after long periods of sitting or standing. Other symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the foot
  • Tenderness in the bottom of the foot
  • Swelling in the foot
  • Pain that worsens with activity

An important thing to note is that if your symptoms worsen with movement throughout the day, then it is not plantar fasciitis.  A proper diagnosis is key in healing the problem. Causes of Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse or repetitive stress to the plantar fascia. This can be due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Wearing shoes narrow in the toe box
  • Weak calf muscles
  • Weak intrinsic foot muscles
  • Chronic ankle sprains


Options for Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

There are several plantar fasciitis treatment options available, depending on the severity of the condition.

  1. Despite what many people think, rest and ice are not going to change anything.  Movement and blood flow are key.
  2. Stretching and strength based exercises – Being tight is not always a signal to stretch.  Oftentimes it means the muscles are weak.  Finding the right person to assess will be important in determining what needs to be done.
  3. Rehab with a specialist – A chiropractor that specializes in rehab or physical therapy can be helpful for patients with severe or chronic plantar fasciitis. Finding the right provider who can assess the whole picture and provide an individualized approach will result in a long-term solution.
  4. Footwear modifications – Changing footwear to shoes with a wide toe box, not a wide shoe (they are different).
  5. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) – ESWT is a non-invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis that uses shockwaves to stimulate healing in damaged tissue.


Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent plantar fasciitis, including:

  • Wearing shoes with a wide toe box to allow toes to splay properly
  • Strengthening the foot and calf muscles
  • Modifying your running routine while working to improve your foot health
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Treating chronic ankle sprains with a foot rehab specialist



Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the foot and is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia.  Because the plantar fascia is an extension of the achilles tendon, which extends from the calf muscles, it is important to strengthen these tissues rather than just focusing on stretching them.  Proper joint mechanics of the knee and ankle play a significant role in getting rid of plantar fasciitis, so finding a specialist who knows how to adequately assess and treat the root cause of the problem will have a profound effect in your progress. Looking into treatment for plantar fasciitis? Schedule an appointment at Adjust Your Performance today!

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