Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions known. It’s responsible for 11%-15% of all the foot symptoms requiring professional care among adults.


Fortunately, it usually very well treatable with the right exercises.

A few simple stretching exercises can make a big difference in the pain you’re experiencing, especially in the morning.

And here I will show you which exercises you should do and why for fast pain relief.

I’ll also show you what is causing your plantar fasciitis and how you solve the different other causes.

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So if you want to treat your pain correctly, I would advise you to keep reading.

  1. What is plantar fasciitis?
  2. What are plantar fasciitis symptoms?
  3. How to diagnose plantar fasciitis?
  4. What is the difference between the heel spur and plantar fasciitis?
  5. What causes plantar fasciitis?
  6. Plantar fasciitis treatment with four exercises
  7. What can I do to prevent plantar fasciitis from occurring?
  8. Plantar fasciitis surgery

What is plantar fasciitis?

plantar fasciitisPlantar fasciitis is an inflammation of your plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia runs from your calcaneus or heel bone to the ball of your foot.

It’s a tendon plate that is important for weight bearing. It carries about 14% of the total weight on your foot.

When it is overused, it can get damaged. Your body will try to repair this damage with an inflammatory reaction.

The signs of this inflammatory reaction are:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Reduced mobility

Not all these symptoms have to be present but usually swelling, pain and reduced mobility are present. You can measure the swelling of the plantar fascia through ultrasound examination.


What are plantar fasciitis symptoms?


There are a few plantar fasciitis symptoms that are very specific. These symptoms usually start during walking or running for an extended period. In the end, the pain under your foot begins to occur.

As the injury progresses, symptoms start earlier over time. When the symptoms are at most worse, pain is present. The following symptoms will always be present in severe plantar fasciitis:

The first one is the location of the pain. The area of the pain is every time the same and at the same spot.

You can see the location of the pain on the picture above.

If there is no pain at that specific location, it’s safe to say that you don’t have plantar fasciitis. When this happens, you should search for a different cause for your pain.

The location of the pain is always at the front side of your heel bone under your foot at the medial or inner side. It’s at one specific point and doesn’t radiate. It feels like a sharp pain.

The second particular symptom is pain in the morning. You will feel the most pain in the morning when you get out of bed. At this moment your foot has been resting for 8 hours. That results in stiffening of your plantar fascia. The stiffness of your foot will cause more pain eventually. When you walked around a bit or stretched a bit, the pain will disappear.

Also walking or running for a more extended period causes more pain under your foot. It is caused by overusing your foot by doing this. That results in more damage and therefore more pain.

Lastly, when it hurts more to walk barefoot than to walk with shoes, this is an indication for plantar fasciitis. When you walk barefoot, you put more pressure on your plantar fascia. It also results in more damage causing more pain.

How to diagnose plantar fasciitis?

To accurately diagnose plantar fasciitis several things are important.

First, the specific symptoms described above have to be present. If your symptoms are different, it’s safe to say that you don’t have plantar fasciitis but a different foot problem.

In addition to the symptoms, the history of the injury has to fit in. It means that the pain started slowly, first only at the end of a long walk or ran. As the damage progresses, the pain begins earlier and earlier until it’s always present.ultrasound plantar fasciitis

Finally, an ultrasound image can confirm the actual swelling of the plantar fascia that is characteristic for plantar fasciitis.

If you only have either the symptoms without the swelling or the swelling without the signs, the plantar fascia is not the problem. A swollen fascia can be present without producing symptoms.

To be able to understand this, it’s good to know that the image doesn’t always tell the whole story. There are dozens of examples where an ultrasound image shows a tear in a muscle or a tendon without any symptoms. On the other hand, there can be symptoms without anything showing in the picture. That’s why you have to look at the image and the symptoms combined.

A misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary intense treatment with little results. An excellent example is a heel spur or calcaneal spur that you might see on an ultrasound image. That is something entirely different and often has nothing to do with your symptoms. I’ll explain right now why.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Overuse of the foot is what typically causes it. The overuse caused the damage of the plantar fascia. Five factors can cause the overuse of your plantar fascia.

I’ll explain why they have such a significant impact on your plantar fascia, and later I will show you how you can use this knowledge for your treatment.

Being overweight

Being overweight is one of the most significant risks for developing pain under your foot. As I mentioned before, your plantar fascia carries about 14% of your total weight. It means that the bigger your weight, the bigger the load your foot have to take.

When this load is more significant than your plantar fascia can handle, it will get damaged. Research shows that being overweight increases your risk by 5,6%.

Standing for an extended period

The same research shows that standing for a long period increases your risk by 3,6%. That is because a lower load can also cause damage if it applies for an extended period.

Flat Feet

Another study shows that having flat feet increases your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

When you have flat feet, your plantar fascia is more stretched. That applies a higher load, causing damage.

Weak Calf muscles

Another big factor is the weak calf muscles. Unfortunately, there is not much research done examining the link between weak calf muscles and plantar fasciitis. However, in my experience, everyone with plantar fasciitis has weak calf muscles. Because of the lack of research, I can’t say if the plantar fasciitis causes the weak calf muscles or that it’s the other way around. What I do know is that it is something we have to address and treat.

Weak calf muscles can also cause calf muscle pain.

Reduced dorsiflexion

The last risk factor is reduced dorsiflexion of your ankle joint. It means that you’re unable to lift your foot far enough.

dorsiflexion ankleResearch shows that people with 0 degrees dorsiflexion have a 23,3% higher chance of developing plantar fasciitis then those with 10 degrees dorsiflexion.

You measure the amount of dorsiflexion from a neutral position. The neutral position of the ankle is when your foot and lower leg are in a 90 degrees angle. That is for instance when you’re in standing position.

Healthy people can make about 20 degrees of dorsiflexion in the ankle joint.


Now you know the most common causes for developing plantar fasciitis, it’s time to learn why this causes plantar fasciitis.

To fully understand this, you first have to know the anatomy of the lower leg.

First, on the back of your lower leg, you have your calf muscles. Your calf muscles connect to your heel bone through your Achilles tendon. Right after your Achilles tendon starts your plantar fascia. Around your plantar fascia, you have several foot muscles. These five structures form a chain that is very important during walking:

• Calf muscles
• Achilles tendon
• Heel bone
• Plantar fascia
• Little foot muscles

When one of these structures don’t function pain properly will start to develop. That is because more pressure will apply at the end of the chain, which is your plantar fascia.

That also explains the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. Short and tens calf muscle reduce the dorsiflexion of your ankle, along with reduced mobility of your heel bone. It increases the load on your plantar fascia.

When your little foot muscles lack the strength to support your foot, you develop flat feet. It increases the load on your plantar fascia.

So to cure your plantar fasciitis fast and effective, your treatment has to adjust all these issues.

And I’ll show you how to do this right now:

Plantar fasciitis treatment with four strengthening exercises

There are several plantar fasciitis treatments available. However, some are more effective than others.

But before you start your treatment, there are several things you can do to reduce your symptoms.

The most important thing you have to do is to give your plantar fascia as much rest as you can.

The rest is needed to reduce the inflammation.

plantar fasciitis insolesI know it’s tough to give your foot some rest because you have to use it always.

But luckily there is a way:

You can buy these plantar fasciitis insoles for pain relief. They not only reduce the pressure on the painful spot.

And they are also great in solving flat feet which is one of the most common causes in developing plantar fasciïtis.

And by buying these insoles on our website, you will also support us to keep doing our work.

Also, these insoles can help reducing knee pain and lower back pain for you as well.

When you’re walking, you are using your plantar fascia. It increases the irritates to become worse and worse. By limiting your activities, you give your plantar fascia time to recover. That also applies to stand for a long time.

Secondly, you should wear the right shoes. The right shoes are shoes that give a lot of support and reduce the pressure on your plantar fascia. Good examples are sneakers or walking shoes. Bad examples are high heels, boots or flip-flops.

Now you know what not to do so let’s start talking about the exercises you can do to relieve your pain.


Plantar fasciitis exercise 1: Stretching your calf muscles

The first thing you should do is stretching your calf muscles.

As I’ve shown you before tight calf muscles are one of the causes of plantar fasciitis. It reduces the mobility of your ankle and increases the stress on your plantar fascia.

Also, tight calf muscles can cause radiating pain to your heel, mimicking plantar fasciitis.

The following plantar fasciitis stretch stretches your calf muscle:

  • Place your painful foot behind you in a straight line with your other foot
  • Extend your hip and knee and keep your heel on the ground
  • You will feel the stretch in your calf muscle
  • Hold this position for 20 second
  • Repeat this three times

You can also find the exercise in the video below:

After a few days, you will feel that your calf muscles get looser and hurt less.

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Plantar fasciitis exercise 1: Stretching your Achilles tendon.

Your calf muscle is attached to your heel bone through your Achilles tendon.

Together with your calf muscle, you also have to stretch your Achilles tendon because also he causes tension on your plantar fascia.

The following plantar fasciitis stretch stretches your Achilles tendon:

  • Place your painful foot behind you
  • Bend your knee and move your weight as far as you can to the back
  • It’s like squatting on one leg
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds
  • Repeat it three times

You can also find the exercise in the video below:

These two exercises usually count for 50% reduction of your symptoms.

But there is more work to do to solve your problems completely.

Plantar fasciitis exercise 3: Ankle mobility

Together with reducing the tension in your calf muscles you also have to increase the movement of your ankle.

When your ankle is stiff, the forces in your leg don’t distribute equally.

That can cause overuse of your plantar fascia.

You can perform this exercise in the following way:

  • Stand on the tip of the toes of your painful foot
  • Now try to make circles as big as you can
  • Perform this both clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Repeat this several times a day

You can also find the exercise in the video below:

Plantar fasciitis exercise 4: strengthening your calf muscles and plantar fascia.

The last exercise you have to do focuses on strengthening your calf muscles and plantar fascia.

Lack of strength in your calf muscles is the most common reason for them to tighten up.

So when you don’t train them, they will tighten up again which will make your symptoms come back.

You can perform the exercise in the following way:

  • Stand on two leg
  • Stand on your toes
  • Slowly come back down
  • Repeat this ten times
  • Do this three times

You can also find the exercise in the video below:

After a while, you will see that the activity becomes too easy.

You can increase its difficulty by repeat it 15 or even 20 times.

After this, you can perform the exercise on one leg. When you can do three series of 15 repetitions on one leg your calf muscles, and plantar fascia is strong enough to cure your plantar fasciitis.

These are the four plantar fasciitis exercises you can do at home to cure your heel pain.

Sometimes however you need an extra hand to solve your problems completely.

I’ll discuss the options you have here.

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Plantar fasciitis treatment 2: Dry Needling

Dry NeedlingWith Dry Needling your physical therapist solves the tension in your calf muscle almost instantly. That will give you immediate pain relief.

Therefore, in my opinion, Dry Needling is the most effective plantar fasciitis treatment out there. It wasn’t until recently that I started to use Dry Needling as a plantar fasciitis treatment. My experience is that it gives imminent relieve. It means that patients feel less pain under their foot right after the Dry Needling session.

So how does this work?

Dry Needling is not performed directly to your plantar fascia. That doesn’t work. Instead, it is used to reduce the tension of your calf muscle. As you might remember, I talked about a stiff calf muscle as one of the causes for plantar fasciitis. The stiff calf muscle increases the pressure on your plantar fascia. By reducing the tension of the calf muscle, you also reduce the load on your plantar fascia. That reduces your pain.

It’s essential that you combine Dry Needling with the calf and Achilles tendon stretches.

Plantar fasciitis treatment 3: Plantar fasciitis taping

plantar fasciitis tapingAnother useful technique for injury relieve is taping. This technique reduces the pressure on your plantar fascia, which reduces your pain. When this taping technique is applied, you will feel an imminent relieve.

The downside of this treatment is that it only works as long as the tape is applied. As soon as the tape goes off, the pain will return like before. It serves more like a painkiller than a cure.

Plantar fasciitis treatment 4: shockwave therapy

Another widely used treatment is shockwave therapy. Shockwave uses small pulses to increase blood flow in the tendon and also to destroy calcification, if present.

It is an excellent addition to the exercises described here because it helps to heal the inflammation as well as solving any additional problems.

What shoes are best when you have plantar fasciitis?

The best shoes to wear are those that reduce the pressure on your plantar fascia. The best shoes, therefore, are firm, stable shoes.

Sandals and flip flops on the other hand usually give less support for your foot and therefore aren’t your best option.

However, with the right insoles, even sandals can be worn pain free.


What can I do to prevent plantar fasciitis from occurring?

Like always, it’s better to prevent something then to cure it afterward. The best way to prevent plantar fasciitis is minimizing the risk factors.

This means:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep your calf muscles, and Achilles tendon relaxed and at length.
  • Keep your foot muscles strong to reduce flat feet.
  • Wear the right shoes.
  • Keep your ankle flexible

You can perform the plantar fasciitis exercises mentioned before to do all this.

Plantar fasciitis surgery


If you have tried every possible treatment option without success, plantar fasciitis surgery is your last resort. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this surgery is only done after at least 12 months of pain.

There are two surgery options.

The first option is surgically lengthening of your calf muscle.

As you know reduce dorsiflexion is a risk factor for plantar fasciitis. Short calf muscles often cause reduced dorsiflexion. When excessive stretching doesn’t lengthen your muscles enough, you can have this done surgically. It reduces the tension on your plantar fascia, which gives it a chance to heal.

Your second option is a plantar fascia release.

In this procedure, the surgeon partly cuts your plantar fascia to reduce the tension on it. When the pressure decreases, the fascia can heal, relieving your pain.

Complications of these surgery procedures might be insufficient healing or nerve damage. Unfortunately, It doesn’t have a 100% success rate, and therefore it’s considered a last resort.

Only undergo surgery if everything else has failed.

Conclusion
There is a lot you can do yourself to relieve your pain. Try the stretches first and if that doesn’t help, find a good physical therapist. You don’t have to live with this pain.

If you have any question after all this information feel free to send me an e-mail: [email protected].

We will try to enter the answers into this post to keep improving it.

Don’t forget to share it with your friends so everyone can benefit.

Note: This information can never substitute your doctor. If you are not sure about your condition or the exercises, don’t work or make it worse you should see your doctor.

If you find our information helpful and would like to support us, you can donate here through PayPal or leave a review on Google or Facebook.

Also, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video’s.