Your feet are very complex, made up of dozens of bones, tendons and connective tissues that work together to help you walk and stand. When a tendon in your foot becomes too stressed, it can cause inflammation and pain with each step you take.

One connective tissue, known as the plantar fascia, connects your heel bone to the ball of your foot which commonly causes foot pain and other problems. When the sole of your foot is strained, it can make the plantar fascia swell and become inflamed, called plantar fasciitis.

Some people are more at risk of plantar fasciitis. You may be at a higher risk if you are:

  • A woman
  • Overweight
  • Have to walk or stand on hard surfaces for your job
  • Have flat feet
  • Have high foot arches
  • Run long distances

You can help prevent this by wearing shoes that fit properly and offer support throughout your foot. Special shoe inserts can also provide foot support so your plantar fascia do not strain.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

The most common symptom is pain in your heel. The stabbing pain can feel worse in the morning or when you stand up after being seated for a long period of time.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Rest your foot as much as you can. You can also apply ice packs and take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAID pain relievers) to reduce swelling and inflammation. Sometimes stretches for your calves and feet can also help.

Some people benefit from wearing a splint on their foot when they sleep that stretches the plantar fascia. Special arch or heel supports in your shoes, called orthotics, can also help your feet heal during the day.

Typically you will recover from plantar fasciitis in just a few weeks or months by following the home remedies above. However, if pain is not improving or it's reoccurring, you should see a physician.

If you have severe plantar fasciitis, your doctor might suggest steroid injections to relieve inflammation in your foot. In very rare cases, your doctor might surgically detach your plantar fascia from your heel bone. However, this can weaken your foot and cause other foot problems.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.