Plantar Fascia or Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is probably the most common cause of pain that affects the feet, causing a stabbing pain. This sensation of pain and inflammation is most pronounced in the mornings, just after you get out of bed. If you spend most of your day seated at a computer, you probably would have also experienced the pain when you suddenly get off the chair and on to your feet. As your muscles and ligaments are stretched the pain lessens through the course of the day, but it may surface occasionally. The condition is also likely to act up when you spend an extended period of time standing, or if you spend a lot of time seated, probably before a computer, and then suddenly stand up to move.

Plantar Fasciitis Picture

What exactly is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis takes its name from the region that it affects. Your foot is supported by a strong band of tissue or a ligament that connects the heel to the toes. This ligament is known as the plantar fascia, and any irritation or inflammation to this ligament will cause severe pain described as plantar fasciitis. The inflammation or irritation can occur as a result of strain and stress or due to a lack of exercise and sudden strain. Walking and standing can be quite painful when you suffer from the condition.

Although the condition is a lot more common among middle aged or older adults it can also affect young adults who spend a lot of time on their feet. This is why it is a particularly common condition among runners and other athletes. In such cases it could in some ways be viewed as a stress injury. Similarly, plantar fasciitis can also be a problem for individuals who are overweight or during pregnancy. Improper foot wear that does not provide adequate support also puts you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis symptoms may develop all of a sudden, generally after some intense activity, or they could even develop gradually over a period of time. Symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis include pain that:

  • May develop gradually
  • The pain may just affect one foot, or could afflict both feet simultaneously
  • Typically, the pain is most intense when you get out of bed after awakening, but it can also be very severe when the plantar fascia has been subjected to increased stress because of prolonged standing, or due to standing suddenly after a long period of inactivity.
  • The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is said to cause a stabbing sensation in the heel.
  • The severity of the pain is also likely to be greater after running, climbing stairs or after most types of intense activity.
  • Many individuals report severe pain after exercising. The symptoms may not be present at the time you are exercising itself, but could develop immediately after.
  • There may also be an aching and burning sensation in the bottom of the foot.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of injury or irritation of the plantar fascia, which is the thick tissue band at the bottom of the foot. This typically develops because the ligament is over stretched or overused. Some of the risk factors that could cause plantar fasciitis to develop include:

  • In some individuals, poor gait and the style of walking may cause an imbalance resulting in excessive pressure on the plantar fascia, causing plantar fasciitis.
  • Weakness of muscles in the foot will also cause more stress to be placed on the plantar fascia.
  • Anatomical features such as flat feet or high arches can also cause an over stretching of the plantar fascia and contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.
  • One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is also one that is easily avoidable. Footwear is a lot more important than most of us consider, and not for its appearance. Shoes that do not offer adequate arch support can greatly increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. Similarly, wearing shoes that don’t really fit you, or shoes that are worn out can also increase the risk.
  • Men and women who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of plantar fasciitis because of the greater stress on the foot as result of the excess weight.
  • Pregnant women are also at risk of plantar fasciitis, not just because of the increased weight, but also because of the loosening up and relaxing of ligaments in response to a pregnancy hormone.
  • While it may be a good idea to get healthy and in shape, don’t leap from the couch to the gym overnight. Your body needs time to adjust, so the transition needs to be gradual. A sudden increase in rigorous activity like running, or jogging can cause great stress to the foot and result in plantar fasciitis.
  • Athletes are also at risk of plantar fasciitis because of stress injuries that could result from long distance running, dancing or jumping, and endurance tests.

Although the condition can affect individuals of practically any age group, it is most prevalent among middle aged or elderly men past forty.

Home Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis

The treatment for plantar fasciitis typically involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers to provide relief from the symptoms and facilitate healing. Conventional treatment too, does involve the use of natural methods, primarily lifestyle modifications. Home remedies for plantar fasciitis are therefore not necessarily an alternative treatment, but are actually essential for effective recovery.

  • Physical therapy is an integral part of treatment and heel stretching exercises are recommended in any home treatment plan for plantar fasciitis.
  • As the condition is indicative of a stress injury, whether resulting from overuse or lack of exercise, rest is absolutely essential for healing to take place.
  • Your foot wear may also need to be changed, as it is important for you to only wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning. As heart breaking as this may be, you will need to put away those stilettos, at least for a while.
  • It may also help to use felt pads or a heel cup to protect the feet.
  • Ice is one of the most commonly used natural remedies for plantar fasciitis and you can simply apply an ice pack to the area for around fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. You can do this as frequently as you wish to, whenever the symptoms surface, as it will help to reduce the inflammation and pain greatly.
  • There are no cures for plantar fasciitis that will protect you from further stress injury, so refrain from any vigorous activities. Exercise is important, but for a while it would be necessary to switch to low impact exercises instead.
  • According to some natural health enthusiasts, acupressure and acupuncture can provide effective plantar fasciitis natural cures, but there isn’t adequate evidence to support these claims.

In almost all cases the patient will respond to treatment, but in very severe cases where non invasive treatments are ineffective there may be a need for corrective surgery.

Diet for Plantar Fasciitis

No diet for plantar fasciitis can help cure the condition, but your diet is nevertheless extremely important. Your diet affects the general health of your body and nutritional intake has a direct effect on the health of the ligaments, muscles and tissues. A healthy nutritious diet should therefore aid recovery. In addition to nutritional value, omega 3 fatty acids in certain foods exercise an anti-inflammatory effect; they help reduce inflammation and also promote tissue repair. For this reason, certain foods like flax seed, and sea foods like herring, tuna and salmon should be included in your diet. Turmeric is also known to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, so it may help to use it for seasoning. Fluid intake is also crucial to recovery, so ensure you have an adequate intake of water

Diet is also important because of its effect on your weight. Obesity and weight gain are significant risk factors for plantar fasciitis, particularly when there is a sudden increase in weight. Try and ensure that you follow a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Exercise for weight loss may not be feasible right now, but should be resumed gradually, once the plantar fascia has healed completely.

Suggestions for Plantar Fasciitis

If you wish to cure the condition effectively, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

You need to be patient and maintain consistency in treatment. The condition usually resolves completely over time, if you follow the physical therapy or stretching exercises, wear suitable foot wear, and give your feet a chance to recuperate.

The earlier you address the problem the better. Ignoring the pain and neglecting it will simply cause a worsening of the condition, and treatment will need to be followed for much longer.

Keep in mind that in almost all cases, complete recovery could take as much as a few months or a year. The results will start to show within a few weeks however.


  1. Bharti Rajput, Rami J. Abboud, Common ignorance, major problem: the role of footwear in plantar fasciitis, The Foot, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2004, Pages 214-218, ISSN 0958-2592, 10.1016/j.foot.2004.06.004.
  2. Geraldine N. Urse, Plantar fasciitis: A review, Osteopathic Family Physician, Volume 4, Issue 3, May–June 2012, Pages 68-71, ISSN 1877-573X, 10.1016/j.osfp.2011.10.003.

Plantar Fascia or Plantar Fasciitis Treatments - more information
Plantar Fascia or Plantar Fasciitis - Frequently asked questions
5 Plantar Fascia or Plantar Fasciitis remedies suggested by our users
plantar warts
suggested by juanita on Sunday, June 8, 2008

Well I read somewhere to try lemon oil on warts, so I bought some, and my husband had a wart on his arm we got rid of it, and then about a year later my step daughter got the plantar warts on her feet. The doctor suggested surgery, which would mean cutting off most of her big toe. We started with the lemon oil a few times a day and things are better!!!

apple cider vinegar
suggested by juanita on Sunday, June 8, 2008

I don't recall where I read it but you put some apple cider vinegar in your shoes and walk around with wet shoes. The first relief I had in a while. Can't hurt to try. Way cheaper than any inserts, massage, physical therapy, ect...

Plantar Fascitis
suggested by Dez on Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I suffered from this for two years, in both feet. Only after I religiously started stretching my feet, bending my toes back gently, for at least five minutes before putting my feet to the floor, did it begin to heal, and it healed rapidly. I had read about this, and brushed the idea aside as too simple. But it really works if you take the time and make no exceptions.

Foot pain
suggested by Sridevi on Monday, January 7, 2008

Take half a bucket of Hot Water and put some salt in it and just soak your legs in to it for 15mts. It really cures the pain and it even keeps the feet free from germs.

Plantar Fascia or Plantar Fasciitis Treatments. More...