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Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the heel, pain in the arch and sometimes pain in the ball of the foot

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is latin for 'inflammation of the plantar fascia'. This common foot complaint causes pain in the heel and often associated with heel spurs.


Pain is usually felt on the underside of the heel and is often most intense with the first steps out of bed in the morning or after rest. In some cases mild swelling in the heel is present. Usually the pain  will subside after walking around for some time. Heel pain often worsens after long lasting activities like going for long walks, playing tennis or golf, as well as walking and standing on hard floors for long periods of time

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is mainly caused by incorrect foot function, in particular over-pronation (rolling in of the ankle and flattening of the arch). Contributing factors are age, weight gain, jobs that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces, badly worn shoes with little support, and also inactivity.
The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that runs under the foot from the toes to the heel. When the foot pronates the plantar fascia is being over-streched resulting in inflammation and pain at the point where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone.

Treatment options

Before seeking help from a specialist there's a lot you can do yourself to alleviate the pain of Plantar Fasciitis.
  • avoid any barefoot walking, especially after getting out of bed in the morning.
  • rest, reduced activity: avoid long walks, sports and standing on hard surfaces for long periods.
  • ice: apply an ice pack onto the heel for 5-10 minutes about 3 or 4 times a day.
  • reduce the inflammation with ant-inflammatory medication and/or a gel or cream.
  • exercises: do a number of specific exercises to increase flexibility in your feet and legs
N.B. See exercise programme below
  • orthotic insoles: wear an orthotic inside your shoe to re-align the foot.
Plantar Fasciitis exercise


Stand facing a wall with your hand placed on the wall. Put the leg you want to stretch about one step behind your other leg. Keeping your back heel on the floor , bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. repeat 4 times

Use a rolling pin, tennis or golf ball. While seated, roll the ball with the arch of your foot back and forth from your heel to your toes. If you are able to, progress to doing this exercise while you are standing up. Do this exercise for about 2 minutes.


Place a rolled towel under the ball of you foot, holding the towel at both ends. Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times.
N.B. Its best to do the above exercises 3 or 4 times a day.

Insoles for Plantar fasciitis

Orthotics are the insoles of choice. Orthotics correct the problem of over-pronation and the support they support the arches, thereby restoring our natural walking pattern.
In order to effectively treat the cause of Plantar Fasciitis cushioning under the heel is not enough. It is important to also support the arches and re-align the foot to its neutral position. Orthotic insoles are designed to do exactley that! By supporting the arch of the foot, the tension on the plantar fascia is being released. This means the fascia ligament is no longer pulling away from the heel bone, in turn this will help reduce pain and inflammation.
Plantar Fasciitis responds well to professional help and advice from a Podiatrist using exercise, rest and orthotics, when necessary.

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