The plantar fascia is a dense, wide band of fibers that starts at the inner-bottom part of your heel bone and radiates along the bottom of the foot towards the toes.
In normal function, the plantar fascia tissue helps maintain your arch as your foot rolls forward on the toes – like a bowstring pulling the ends of a bow together.
Plantar fasciitis is the name for the painful condition caused by an injured plantar fascia – most typically degeneration caused by micro-traumatic injury to the plantar fascia fibers from excessive loading.
Nearly 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve with the non-operative interventions outlined below and can avoid the risks associated with more invasive treatment. Unfortunately, these treatments may require weeks to even months to reach full impact, so patience and persistence are key to success!
As you focus on recovery, try to avoid activities that aggravate your plantar fasciitis symptoms
Therapy specifically directed for plantar fasciitis, with an emphasis on eccentric exercises (see below)
See the attached tips on stretching exercises
Freeze a disposable water bottle and roll it under your heel & foot (no more than 20 minutes per hour)
You may use a course of anti-inflammatory medications aka NSAIDs like Advil, Ibuprofen, or Motrin. You may need to take the drug for a couple of weeks before notable changes are seen.
Night splints may help avoid plantar fascia tightening overnight and reduce the pain.
In one exercise (fig 2) you lean forward against a wall with one knee straight and heel on the ground. Your other knee is bent. Your heel cord and foot arch stretch as you lean. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and straighten up. Repeat 20 times for each sore heel. It is important to keep the knee fully extended on the side being stretched.
In another exercise (fig 3) you lean forward onto a countertop, spreading your feet apart with one foot in front of the other. Flex your knees and squat down, keeping your heels on the ground as long as possible. Your heel cords and foot arches will stretch as the heels come up in the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and straighten up. Repeat 20 times.
Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Program (see fig 4)
You can perform these stretches daily. It is recommended that you perform these stretches before taking the first step our of bed in the morning and before standing after a period of prolonged sitting.