How to Handle Your Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis

causes of plantar fasciitis

Many people often get up in the morning to excruciating pain in the bottom of the feet. Walking around makes it a little better, so they believe it was nothing serious. They also don’t remember injuring their foot, so expect it is gone for good. However, the same thing happens every morning until one day, the heel pain doesn’t go away as quickly. This common injury is known as plantar fasciitis and it can be easy to treat if you get treatment early on. This may include plantar fasciitis exercises or plantar fasciitis shoes. If you wait to go to the doctor, the injury will take much longer to heal. Plantar fasciitis, pronounced plan-ter fash-eye-tis, is something to take seriously, but the heel pain can be treated easily.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The bottom of your foot is lined with a large band of connective tissues. This band, called the plantar fascia, actually runs from the heel to the bottom of the toes. As a support for your arch, it is similar to a shock absorber as it absorbs the impact of walking or running. If you are exercising or running and the tension in the plantar fasciitis is great, small tears can happen which result in pain, inflammation, and irritation. If you’ve noticed your feet throbbing after a workout or after you have been on them all day, this is likely to be the cause. Some people state that it feels like someone is stabbing them in the arch of the foot.

Once people know the answer to the question of what is plantar fasciitis, they often recognize the symptoms immediately. As the connective tissue starts to heal while you are sleeping, putting weight on it in the morning can cause the pain all over again.

The Cause and Risk of Plantar Fasciitis

There are many causes of plantar fasciitis. If you suddenly start working a job where you are on your feet all day, you have flat feet, or you don’t wear shoes that fit properly, you are putting yourself at risk. Other causes of plantar fasciitis include:

Your Age

While plantar fasciitis does not discriminate on age, it is more common for those between to ages of 40 and 60 to be diagnosed with it.

Type of Exercise

There are also certain types of exercises that put people more at risk for it, including running, ballet dancing, and aerobic dances. As these cause more pressure to be placed on the heel, they often contribute to more tears of the plantar fascia.

Not Stretching Prior to Exercising

Stretching before you exercise will not just lead to pulled hamstrings, it can also cause your muscles to put more tension on the plantar fascia which puts you at further risk of injury.

Proper Foot Technique

If you walk and your foot turns in, have a strange gait, or unusual stride, you may find this can play a role in how much tension is placed on the plantar fascia.

Your Weight

If you are obese or you are carrying around some extra weight, you will find that it will put extra tension on your feet. This, of course, puts you at risk for plantar fasciitis.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

No matter what caused this excruciating heel pain, the one thing you need to do is fix it. It will generally not go away without the proper treatment. In fact, the majority of those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, find proper treatment relieves them of symptoms within six weeks and, as you will read later, may include special plantar fasciitis exercises. Which treatment is right depends on the situation as there is not one particular treatment method that will work for everyone. It is simply a matter of figuring out which one is right for your own feet.

Stretching: A common treatment for plantar fasciitis is stretching the lower extremities throughout the day. One method of doing this is to use a doorframe. Put your heel close to the frame with the ball of your foot on it. While you hang on, lean in and bed your knee. Holding this for thirty seconds will help stretch your muscles. You may also trying sitting down on the floor and stretch your legs in front. A towel should be wrapped around the foot. By pulling on the towel and holding for thirty seconds, you can stretch the foot and prevent more injuries. Both of these exercises should be repeated several times in a session.

Ice Application: The inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis is no different than that of other injuries. For treatment of plantar fasciitis, you can freeze water in a water bottle and place it on its side on the floor. Use your injured foot to roll the bottle back and forth several times a day. You will want to do this for about ten minutes each session.

Foot Massage: While the bottle of frozen water will massage your foot, you can also use a tennis ball to massage the area. This can be done at any time during the day and, again, it should be done several times a day.

Anti-inflammatory Medication: If you have injured your plantar fascia, you can use several over-the-counter medications to help with the inflammation, including Iboprofen and Naproxin.

Put Your Feet Up: When you have plantar fasciitis, it is important to take the time to get off your feet or cut back on whatever is causing it to happen. If you are an avid exerciser, you will find some alternative exercises below that will still allow your feet to get some rest.

Plantar Fasciitis Shoes: You may also wish to try some new shoes on that will provide your feet with more support. Many people experience heel pain simply because their shoes do not fit properly and plantar fasciitis shoes that have support can help. You may also wish to purchase insoles for your shoes that will give you the extra arch support you need to keep yourself healthy.

Exercising with a Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis

Many people still exercise with a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, but they do have to adjust the workouts to accommodate the problem. If you choose to continue exercising, you must be sure that your workouts are not contributing to the issues. Some of the plantar fasciitis exercises to try when you have plantar fasciitis include: swimming and water aerobics, lifting weights, yoga, elliptical and rowing machines, mat Pilates, and cycling while wearing hard surface shoes.

There are also some exercises that you will want to avoid until your plantar fascia is healed. These include: running or jogging, jumping, bouncing, and step-type aerobics. You will also want to avoid long walks, whether for fitness or enjoyment, and going barefoot. Wear shoes that always provide your feet with support.

If you find a treatment for plantar fasciitis works for you, continue with it as long as you have symptoms. You may find that physical therapy or custom orthotics is necessary.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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