Managing Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, particularly in individuals 40-60 years of age. It is typically worst when taking the first few steps in the morning, after sitting for long periods of time, or after prolonged walking.

Try decreasing these symptoms at home by following these steps:

Rest: try to modify or limit the activities that are causing your heel pain such as prolonged walking or athletic activities.

Ice: Rolling your foot over a cold or frozen water bottle for about 15 minutes at a time can help decrease pain. Perform this 3-4 times a day.

Self Massage
Exercise: Plantar fasciitis is commonly associated with tight calf muscles. There are two muscles in your calf, the gastrocnemius and the soleus, that can contribute to heel pain. Try performing these stretches and strengthening exercises at home to help decrease pain.


If symptoms do not improve at home, be sure to contact your physician or physical therapist. Always check with your physician prior to beginning a new exercise routine to ensure it is safe for you.


Written by:

Dr. Holly Hibbard
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT



Do you suffer from morning heel pain?

The most common cause of morning heel pain is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a long ligament in the bottom of your foot. It can become inflamed causing pain on the bottom of your foot and heel.

Symptoms include pain on the bottom of the foot either after not weight-bearing through the foot for a long period of time or after a lot of weight-bearing activity.

Treatment includes:
1. Replace worn out shoes. Make sure you have a pair of good supportive tennis shoes for when you are
on your feet a lot.
2. Stop any excessive exercising or jogging until symptoms subside. If you have recently started a new
exercise program or changed jobs where you are doing a lot of standing or walking, see what you
can do to limit being on your feet a lot.
3. Use heat on the bottom of your foot followed by rolling a tennis ball underneath your foot for a few
minutes for a self massage to the plantar fascia area.
4. Perform calf stretches. Stand on the bottom of a step and drop one heel down until you feel a stretch
in your calf. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat a couple times on each foot.
5. End with some ice on the bottom of your foot. Wrap a bag of frozen peas or corn in a towel and put it
under your foot for about 10 minutes.

Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is an irritation of the thick ligamentous connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. This band of tissue runs from the heel to the ball of the foot providing support for the arch of the foot.  Plantar fasciitis is common in runners.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

1. Over pronating with walking/running– pronation is where the inside of the foot touches the ground more than the outside.

2.  Wearing old shoes– shoes lose their support after approximately 500 miles of wear.

3.  Excessive walking with improper foot support– shoes that do not provide arch support.   An orthotic might be needed to provide increase support to the arch of the foot.

4.  Tight calf muscles


Pain is felt at the bottom of the heel.  Pain is usually worse in the morning and improves throughout the day.  Pain increases with prolonged standing or sitting.


1.  Rest

2.  Ice

3.  Massage to the bottom of the foot

4.  Stretching– refer to the previous blog topic on Why does my calf cramp?  How do I relieve it?

5.  Night splinting

If the pain is still present, physical therapy can help with Plantar Faciitis.  Consult with your physician or physical therapist to determine the next step for you.    If you have any questions about Plantar Fasciitis, please contact Harbor Physical Therapy.