Plantar fasciitis: symptoms, causes, treatments and exercises

what is plantar fasciitis?

plantar fasciitis is an acute inflammation of the plantar fascia (muscular aponeurosis plantar), a structure of connective tissue that is located on the sole of the foot to support the arch plantar and acts as a shock absorber to the weight and movement. This pain is treated in the area under the heel that is usually most intense in the first steps of the morning, after a period of inactivity or when the weight is loaded. Plantar fasciitis is a common problem in adults.

Why it occurs and the plantar fasciitis?

The causes are varied. The truth is that it happens when the thick band of connective tissue extends, or overloads too. The following are the most common causes that may have caused plantar fasciitis, or make it prone to suffer:


  • Stay for prolonged periods.
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  • Do physical activities prolonged, like walking or running when you are not used to, and you have a sedentary lifestyle.
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  • Change the type of surface on which you perform physical activity, such as going from one track to the grass or cement. In addition, on uneven surfaces.
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  • Has problems in the arch of the foot such as flat foot or the arch plantar high.
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  • Overweight or obese , since it generates a larger weight load to the plantar fascia.
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  • Wear shoes with arch support insufficient, the soles very rigid or very soft.
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  • Have a tendon short Achilles, which can affect your ability to bend the ankle.
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  • Lack of flexibility of the muscles of the legs, which multiplies the voltage that must support the plantar fascia.
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  • tunnel Syndrome the Tarsal, where the nerves and tendons that affect the foot are changed.

plantar fasciitis is frequently diagnosed as a spur heel, which is a calcification in the heel. However, the spur is not the cause of the fascite, but a consequence of it. On radiographs, the spurs of the heel can be seen in people with and without plantar fasciitis.

How common is plantar fasciitis?

plantar fasciitis is quite common, is one of the orthopedic diseases of the foot which occur more often today. One in ten people develop plantar fasciitis at some point in his life and has been observed in men and women. Usually occurs in active men between the ages of 40 and 70, although it can occur at any age and sex. In addition, it is common in athletes.

How to know if you have plantar fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain, usually acute in the morning and decreases throughout the day or with rest. The stiffness in the lower area of the heel is another common symptom. In addition, the pain may appear either gradually over time or suddenly after an activity. Among the most frequent symptoms are pain in the area below the heel to undertake various activities during the day:


  • Pain in the morning to take the first steps after you get up.
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  • Pain in foot after sitting for a time, or prolonged periods of rest without putting any weight on the foot.
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  • Pain when climbing stairs or walking into the spikes.
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  • Pain after any intense physical activity or extended.
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  • Pain when it is stopped for a long period of time.

Diagnosis fascite plant

First, the sooner it is diagnosed the plantar fasciitis, the greater the likelihood of successful treatment. The diagnosis is usually through physical examination and medical history of each person. The typical findings of the examination include observation of swelling, light redness and sensitivity at the bottom of the foot.

In rare cases, other tests will be made when the diagnosis is uncertain or to rule out another type of pathology; These may include x-rays of the heel or ultrasound of the plantar fascia that usually shows thickening and inflammation in the affected area.

How is the treatment of plantar fasciitis?

Usually, the doctor, and you will join the decision to determine what is the best treatment option initial. Usually, the pain of plantar fasciitis diminishes over time and may take several months. The conventional treatment for plantar fasciitis is a combination of different alternatives and, in conjunction, will help speed up the recovery.

1. Rest your foot:

You should keep your foot at rest as long as possible, avoiding physical activity, excessive walking, standing or stretching your foot. The exercises recommended in this article are allowed.

2. The choice of your footwear is important:

Wear shoes with heels cushioned and good support for the arch plantar. Sneaker instead of a sandal is a very good option. Avoid old shoes or worn out, it may not provide adequate support to the heel and avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces.

3. Assist with accessories medical:

You can start using pads and insoles for your shoes, so you will recover the strength that your heel exercises and give further training to the arch of the foot. I recommend that you use the model or block at all times. The main purpose of using a model is to raise the heel about 1 cm, in order to keep your foot more comfortable and reduce the pain. In addition, you should use it in both feet, although only one of them has plantar fasciitis.

4. Use drugs against pain:

The medications that are effective for plantar fasciitis are paracetamol (its ability analgesic to help relieve pain) and ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory). In addition, you can use a medicine with anti-inflammatory or analgesic that you can apply topically, or is, some kind of ointment or cream on the area of the pain. You can put an ice pack on the foot (some frozen food also), wrapped in a kitchen towel for 15 to 20 minutes, this will help reduce the pain.

How to do stretching to relieve plantar fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis, you probably have a light grip on his Achilles tendon, so that to perform the stretches gentle will help to relieve the symptoms. Usually, at night, the plantar fascia tends to stiffen and, therefore, cause pain when you wake up the next morning. The goal of these exercises is to loosen the tendons and the plantar fascia. Your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist for exercise guidance is the most appropriate. The following exercises can be performed with or without shoes and will be useful for the treatment of:


  • Stay in front of the wall about 40 cm away, place both hands on the wall at the level of the shoulders and feet slightly apart, one in front of the other. Bend the knee of the foot to the front, keep your back straight and lean in towards the wall to stretch your foot. You should feel the calf muscle stretching. Hold this position for several seconds and then relax. Perform this exercise 10 times and then switch to the other leg.
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  • Stand on the first rung of a ladder with your legs apart and your heel slightly off the step. Use the railing of the stairs as a support and slowly lower the heels, keeping the knees straight; You should feel the muscle of the calf stretch. Hold this position for 20 to 60 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 6 times and run at least two times per day.
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  • Sit on the floor with legs slightly apart and knees straight. Move the toes of the foot pointing to the head. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times and repeat the same exercise for the other foot. Perform this exercise once per day.
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  • Sit in a chair with your knees bent at a right angle and your heels resting on the floor. In this position, raise the foot while keeping the heel on the floor, hold the position for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times. I recommend that you do this exercise 5 to 6 times per day.
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  • For this last exercise, obtain an object similar to a roll or a can of drinks. Sit in a chair at a right angle and place the selected object under the arch of your foot. Move the foot to roll the object in different directions. Perform this exercise for a few minutes on each foot at least twice a day. It is very important that you do this activity without shoes.

Other treatments for plantar fasciitis

If the conventional treatments mentioned are not helping you relieve pain or require a recovery in a short period of time, do not worry, because there are other treatments. Nothing is better than the other and results may vary according to each person.


  • steroid Injections:

injections of steroids, especially cortisone, are a good alternative to relieve the pain. However, does not solve the problem itself. The steroids act to reduce inflammation in the area, but also present some risks, as a tear of the plantar fascia, although this is unusual.


  • Therapies of shock waves out-of-body:

This therapy uses a machine that generates sound waves of high energy that pass through your skin to act directly on the painful area of the foot. More than one treatment session should generally be performed. Don’t know how it works, but it is believed quand could stimulate healing of the plantar fascia. You should talk with your doctor, as this therapy has benefits, but also potential risks, due to the lack of clinical testing. Some of the possible problems may be pain during the treatment, redness of the skin, swelling and bruising of the skin.


  • Surgery: In cases of very difficult that did not show improvement with the above-mentioned treatments after 12 months, it is recommended the surgery. The operation consists in separating the plantar fascia from the bone. In addition, a spur of calcaneus can be removed if present. Although it sounds simple, the surgery is not always successful and can cause some complications, for which reason it is not recommended and used as a last resort. Some of the complications are infection, increased pain, nerve damage near the operated area, and even rupture of the plantar fascia.

Recovery and prognosis of plantar fasciitis

The majority of people recover from plantar fasciitis within a period of 1 year. However, some of the treatments mentioned above help to make this recovery in a much shorter time. So, if you are a person sport and need to improve soon, don’t worry! A good treatment can help you improve soon.

How to prevent plantar fasciitis

You can do some things that will help to prevent the plantar fasciitis and avoiding it to appear again when you have already had. These include:


  • Change regularly the shoes that you use to train or ride.
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  • Wear shoes with a heel with good cushioning and proper support for the arch plantar.
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  • Slim down if you are overweight or obese.
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  • Run the regular stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, especially before you perform any physical activity.
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  • Avoid exercising on hard surfaces.

in addition, I recommend that you perform the following stretching exercises:


  • Exercise 1: Sit in a chair and place the foot with the knee bent over the other leg and pull the toes back to pointing to the knee. Then stretch the foot and place it on the ground, pulling the toes back. Hold the tension for 30 seconds, perform 10 exercises, 3 times a day.
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  • Exercise 2: with your fingers you realize the plantar fascia stretched, and performs a massage firm in circles trying to relax it. Repeat 30 to 50 times until you feel the single relax. Run three times per day.
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  • Exercise 3: Place a towel on the floor and then place your foot on it. Try to arrange with the toes of the feet. Hold the tension for 30 seconds and relax slowly. Do this exercise 10 times and repeat 3 times a day.
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  • Exercise 4: If you sit for a long period of time, place the foot on a piece of wood 2.5 to 5 cm height or a drawer tilted, keeping your feet on the stretching continued.

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Alternatives to relieve plantar fasciitis

There are a variety of alternative treatments for plantar fasciitis. So don’t be discouraged! It is a condition that has a cure and is usually resolved in a maximum period of 1 year.

conventional treatments for plantar fasciitis should be used in the first place, due to the high effectiveness that demonstrate in most cases; About 90% of people recover with these methods. However, there is still no consensus about what should be the primary treatment approach for plantar fasciitis, but should be used as a complement to obtain more effective results. The surgery will be performed when the rest of the options have been exhausted.

Although these treatments are known, it is possible to affirm that still lack quality research, that they are representative and that are able to show the actual results of these treatments, in order to establish which is the most effective method.

it Is important that, if these exercises don’t give you results, you should visit a doctor to diagnose if you have a plantar fasciitis or another condition. In addition, it will help you in prescribing appropriate drugs.