What is Plantar Fasciitis? A-picture-of-ankles

Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition which causes pain and inflammation in the foot; it occurs when the plantar fascia, a ligament which connects the heel to the toes, supports the foot arch and acts as a shock absorber has become inflamed, damaged and thickened at the point where it attaches to the calcaneus bone (heel bone)

So how do you get Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by sudden damage from an activity such as jogging or dancing or can be brought on gradually from wear and tear.

Certain things can increase your chance of developing Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Having a job or doing something that means spending a lot of time on your feet
  • A new exercise routine
  • Changing the place where you exercise e.g. jogging on the road instead of a treadmill
  • Shoes with poor arch support or cushioning
  • Being overweight
  • Tight Achilles tendon which prevents or restricts the flexing of the foot
  • Flat shoes
  • Overuse/sudden stretching of the foot

Symptoms, how do you know if you’ve got Plantar Fasciitis?

Going to your doctor for an official diagnosis is the only way to be sure that your foot pain is caused by Plantar Fasciitis, but of symptoms include:

  • Pain – this is usually just in front of the heel (4cm) but can be anywhere on the foot
  • Tender
  • Can appear swollen in painful, tender area
  • Pain worse after sitting down or first thing in the morning
  • Pain can get worse after being a period of activity or after being on your feet for a while
  • Stretching, tip toeing or walking up stairs can make pain worse
  • Both feet can be affected at the same time


Will it just go away?

Soldiering on and continuing as usual may make symptoms worse and can result in:

  • Chronic pain in the heel that interferes with everyday life
  • Additional foot problems
  • Hip, knee and back problems can develop as you change the way you stand and walk and compensate for the pain caused by the plantar fasciitis

So how can it be treated?

After visiting the doctor your GP may offer pain relief and medication that can help, however there are also several natural ways that can help with the recovery and healing of your plantar fasciitis which can take up to a year to go.

  • Rest,
  • Avoid long period of time on your feet
  • Avoid flat shoes
  • Insoles called Orthoses can help support the foot and can be found in sports shops and pharmacies
  • Strapping and splinting the foot with sports tape can help with the pain and take the pressure off your heel, your GP or Podiatrist should be able to talk you through it so that you can manage it yourself
  • Stretches, stretching both the foot and the calf can help relieve pain and improve flexibility. Ensure that you do the stretches with both feet even if just one if affected with plantar fasciitis.

Towel Stretches

This is a great exercise to do before getting out of bed or before getting up after sitting down for a long time, so keep a long towel somewhere handy like beside the bed so you’ll be able to reach it.

Looping a long towel around the foot, gently pull the toes towards the body, keeping the knee straight.

Repeat three times for each foot

Wall-stretch-exampleWall Stretch

This is a lovely stretch that can be just whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil!

Put both hands on the wall at shoulder height

Put one foot in front of the other, ensuring that the foot closest to the wall is about 30cms (12″) way from the wall

Keep the back leg straight, bend the front knee and lean towards the wall. You should be able to feel a lovely stretch in the calf muscle, hold for a few seconds before relaxing.

Repeat ten times then switch leg. Repeat the whole exercise twice a day


Stair Stretches

Stand on a step face the stairs

Feet apart, heels hanging off

Holding the hand rail, lower the heels, you should be able to feel the calves tighten hold for 30 seconds, before returning to the beginning.

Repeat six times

Chair Stretches

Sit on a chair, knees directly above your ankles, so they’re at right angles.

Move the feet so that the heels are touching but the toes are pointing away, from above the feet should resemble a V.

Keeping the heels flat on the floor, lift the toes upwards, you should feel your Achilles tendon and calf muscles tighten, hold before relaxing.

Repeat ten times. Try to do this stretch as often as possible aiming for between five and six time a day, try doing it whenever you sit down at the computer or whilst watching your favourite TV programme!

Dynamic Stretch

Whilst sitting down roll the arch of the foot over a tennis ball, can of beans or a bottle of water try putting the can of beans or water in the fridge first, some people find the coolness helps to relieve the pain.

Do this for several minutes twice a day


Are there any complimentary therapies that can help?


Reflexology is a wonderful treatment as its so relaxing and helps to heal and balance the whole body but it can also be beneficial to people who are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.

How? Reflexology can help by

  • Stretching which relieves heel pain
  • Releasing muscle and foot tension.
  • Loosening and relaxing ligaments and muscles in the calf and foot
  • Boosting circulation,
  • Improving flexibility
  • Balancing and healing the bodies systems and returning them to normal, this can be helpful on many levels especially if an overactive immune system is causing problems.

Massage can also help by

  • Helping to help release tension in the Achilles tendon and leg muscles,
  • Breaking up scar tissue,
  • Loosening muscles
  • helping to remove toxins from the muscles
  • Ensuring that circulation of blood and oxygen is boosted and improved.

So which one do I choose Reflexology or Massage?

Here at Natural Touch Therapies we do a treatment which combines a full Reflexology treatment with a full leg massage for just £35! Helping you to relax and heal naturally.

Contact Natural Touch Therapies now on 01773 687 349 or by using our simple web form.

Natural Touch Therapies is based at Acorn Natural Health Centre, 17A Market Place, Heanor DE75 7AA