Pronounced: plan-tar fah-shee-eye-tis
by Michelle Badash, MS
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue attached to the heel bone. It supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of this plantar fascia.
It causes pain in the heel of the foot. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by small, repetitive trauma to the plantar fascia. This trauma can be due to activity that puts extra stress on the foot.
Risk Factors TOP
Plantar fasciitis is most common in people who are 40-60 years old. Other risk factors that increase your chance of getting plantar fasciitis include:
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may start gradually or happen suddenly. They include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A foot exam will be done. This will usually make the diagnosis.
Imaging studies of the foot may be done to help rule out stress fractures or other bone abnormalities.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
To help manage pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Prescription pain relievers may also be required. Steroid injections may be used in some cases or if other treatment is not working.
A special type of sound wave called extracorporeal shock wave may also be considered in certain cases. This treatment happens under the care of your doctor. At this time, this is generally a treatment for long-term cases that do not respond to other treatments. Massage therapy or accupuncture may also be effective for long-term cases.
In a few cases, basic treatments don't help. Surgery may be performed to cut the tight, swollen fascia.
To reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis take these steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Ontario Podiatric Medical Association
Plantar fasciitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated November 2, 2012. Accessed February 18, 2014.
Plantar fasciitis. Focus on the basics. Mayo Clin Health Lett. 2012;30(8):7.
Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00149. Updated June 2010. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Pommering TL. Ankle and foot injuries in pediatric and adult athletes. Prim Care. 2005;32:133-161.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Baldassin V, Gomes CR, et al. Effectiveness of prefabricated and customized foot orthoses made from low-cost foam for noncomplicated plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009;90:701-706.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/24/2013