Suddenly it hits, the horrible pain on the bottom of your heel when you walk. The discomfort makes it difficult to do your daily activities and all you want to do is anything to make the pain go away. Plantar Fasciitis seems to come out nowhere some days, and it can wreak havoc on your life, especially your active lifestyle. There are a few things you can do at home to help soothe the pain and heal the condition faster. It is important to understand what Plantar Fasciitis is, as well as the risk factors, so you can be prepared to stop the discomfort and prevent it before it starts.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis happens when you overuse, overstretch, or tear the plantar fascia in the bottom of your foot. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that runs from the heel to the balls of your feet. The job of these tissues is to absorb shock and support your arch when you walk.

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Plantar Fasciitis happens when you overuse, overstretch, or tear the plantar fascia in the bottom of your foot. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that runs from the heel to the balls of your feet. The job of these tissues is to absorb shock and support your arch when you walk.

The plantar fascia plays a large part in the windlass mechanism of your foot. When you lift up the toes on the weight bearing foot, the plantar fascia and arch is lifted up, which activates the windlass mechanism. When you move through your gait, the heel comes up while your toes are still on the ground. The foot supinates and the arch rises, allowing the leg to move forward.

If there is too much force on the windlass mechanism, there is more force on the plantar fascia that can turn into Plantar Fasciitis. If the windlass mechanism is not present then there is no support of the foot. This can also cause Plantar Fasciitis because of the strain placed on the legs and foot.

The plantar fascia works with the arch in your foot, the ankle, and your lower legs to give you a smooth transition through your gait. However, it does not always work like it should because of overuse or overstretching. When this happens, micro tears and inflammation can occur. This is when you experience the pain in your heel, foot, and find it difficult to walk or do other daily activities.

Risks for Developing Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is common among runners. About 10 percent of all runners will experience this condition and those who run long distances are more likely to develop Plantar Fasciitis. This is because more strain and overuse is placed on the plantar fascia. In addition, if you stand or work on hard surfaces for longer periods of time, you are also more likely to develop Plantar Fasciitis. Some of the occupations that experience this condition include nurses, doctors, and factory workers.

Another large factor for Plantar Fasciitis includes gaining weight in a short period of time, being overweight, those who are obese. The condition is seen during pregnancy, especially the third trimester, because of the stress placed on the plantar fascia. It is not used to carrying the extra weight of a baby, which is when inflammation can occur.

Different Types of Pain Relief Treatments

Now that you have a basic understanding of how your feet work and the role your plantar fascia plays, it is time to talk about the different pain relief treatments. Many of these you can do at home and a few of them use helpful aids to relieve pain as well. Try a few combination of treatments to find what works best for your specific condition.


Ice is one of the easiest pain relief remedies for Plantar Fasciitis. It is readily accessible and can be used over and over again. If the entire foot is hurting, try an ice bath. Fill a tub or a bowl up with water then put ice in it. Put the painful foot in it for about five minutes. Do not leave it in longer than is comfortable. Take it out and do this up to three times a day.

rubbing ice

Another thing you can do is an ice massage. Take a piece of ice and rub the bottom of your foot with it. This should only be done for five minutes at a time because leaving it on too long can make your foot too cold. Rub the sore areas with ice while gently putting pressure on your foot. This can be done up to three times a day.

An ice pack can be used while you are resting your feet. Do not place the ice directly on your foot. Put a barrier, such as a towel, between the pack and your foot. Keep the ice on for 20 minutes at a time. Do this three times a day to ease the pain.


Stretches are helpful in keeping your plantar fascia loose. When it becomes tight, it seizes up and causes you pain. This makes it harder to move and can prevent the Plantar Fasciitis from healing properly. Doing stretches on a regular basis not only helps with pain, but it can prevent Plantar Fasciitis from occurring in the first place.

sport-woman stretching

The first stretch can be done while you are still sitting in bed in the morning. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Using a towel or an exercise strap, place it around the balls of your feet. Pull it gently towards you until you feel a good stretch. It should not hurt, it should feel comfortable. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. This can be done three times a day.

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Since your legs, ankles, and feet all work together, it is important to stretch your lower legs as well. A calf stretch can be helpful in loosening up the lower areas so you can move more freely. To do this stretch, stand near a wall and place one leg behind the other. Bend the back leg until you start to feel a stretch. Make sure to keep your feet and heels on the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then release it. Do this three times on each leg.

An ice massage on the bottom of your foot will also help stretch out your plantar fascia. To do this, use a cold or frozen water bottle. Place it underneath your foot while you are seated. Roll it back and forth so you feel a pressure on the arch of your foot. Put as much pressure that feels comfortable as it should not hurt. Do this for 15 to 30 seconds a time and a total of three times on each foot.

This last stretch is done while sitting in a chair. Cross one leg over the other and grab your toes. Pull the toes towards you until you feel the stretch in the bottom of your foot. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds and then release it. This stretch can also be done three times a day.


resting with legs up

Rest is important when you have Plantar Fasciitis because the plantar fascia needs time to heal. As soon as you feel the pain in your heel, put your feet up and give them a break. Each time you use your feet, no matter what type of activity it is, the plantar fascia have a chance of overstretching and being overused. If you do have micro tears, the overuse and stretching of your plantar fascia will delay healing time and cause you more pain. Try to rest your feet throughout the day and cut back on your activities. For example, if you are a runner you may want to stick to walking until your Plantar Fasciitis goes away.



Sometimes you need a little more help with the pain, which is where NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) come in. NSAIDS are recommended because they reduce inflammation while easing the pain. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are the NSAIDS that are available over the counter at your local store. They are available in oral form or in a cream form. The cream is rubbed over the sore area and works right away. Do not use the oral and cream together because the dosage may be too high.

Night Splints

Night splints can be bought online or from a local medical device store. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend different ones depending on your condition. You do not need a prescription or a recommendation to purchase a night splint.

United Surgical Adjustable Night Splints (Large)

The role of night splints are to stretch your plantar fascia during the night while you sleep. The splint holds the plantar fascia in an elongated position so when you take your first step in the morning it is not as painful as it would have been if you had not worn night splints. This is because the plantar fascia is already loosened up and it does not need a warming up period.

There are two types of night splints, the dorsal splint and the boot splint. The boot splints looks light a boot and covers your entire foot, ankle and the lower part of your leg. The toes are open so you do have some breathing room and room for air to move through. In some boot splints, there is a wedge that is placed underneath the toes for an extra stretch. This is removable so you can use it as you are comfortable.

The dorsal splint is less rigid than the boot splint and the heel and arch of the foot are left open. The stretch is made by pulling on the top of the foot. A rigid device connects the top of your foot to the ankle, which creates the pull. Both types of splints are effective, some people just prefer one over the other while they sleep at night.


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Orthotic inserts are another easy remedy that can help you beat the pain of Plantar Fasciitis. There are two types of orthotic inserts, full-length and heel cups. The full-length inserts run the entire length of your feet. They are designed to support your arch while providing you with cushioning in the heel as well as the balls of your feet. The heels cups are designed to protect mostly your heel. The area where your plantar fascia connects to your heel is most prone to micro tears, so if you commonly experience pain in this area, the heel cup may be for you. If you have pain in the balls of your feet, arch, and heel, then the full-length orthotics may be right for you.

When to See a Doctor

At some point, the pain of Plantar Fasciitis may become too much for you and you will think about calling the doctor. But should you? There are a few indications that you should call the doctor for a consultation and help to manage your pain.

when to see a doctor

If you have a fever with your heel pain, you should call the doctor right away. This may indicate a more serious problem. If you have tried to take care of the pain on your own with the remedies listed above for a week, then it is time to call your doctor. They may send you to physical therapy or talk to you about corticosteroid injections.

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Physical therapy will help you on exercises to stretch and strengthen your plantar fascia as well as the muscles in your foot and lower leg. Corticosteroid injections are steroids injected into the painful site of your foot. It may take a couple of days for them to work, but they reduce pain and inflammation right at the site. From there, the pain relief lasts for a couple of weeks and up to a month.

Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis

Wearing the right shoes is the biggest thing you can do to prevent Plantar Fasciitis. There are shoes designed for overpronation and underpronation, as well as shoes that will provide you with extra cushioning. Find the right shoes for your feet type for the most effective prevention method. There are other types of shoes available such as casual shoes, dress shoes, sandals, and slippers. Make sure these are supportive and designed for those who have Plantar Fasciitis. Wear them all of the time, especially on hard floors, and you will notice your Plantar Fasciitis symptoms subsiding and becoming more infrequent.

Relax your lower legs while standing, sitting, walking, and/or running. If these areas are too tight, the plantar fascia will be pulled and overstretched. This can cause micro tears. Work on relaxing your lower legs and feet be mindful of when they start to get too tight. When they start to get tight, it is time to take a break.

Stretching on a regular basis can keep your Plantar Fasciitis away as well. Doing the stretches above every day will relieve pain and keep the condition away. This is because it loosens up the plantar fascia so it is less prone to micro tears.

Plantar Fasciitis is an extremely painful condition, so trying these remedies at home is sure to help with some of the pain. If after a week the pain is not going away or getting worse, it is time to call your doctor. The doctor may look into your Plantar Fasciitis more and suggest alternative treatments for you. Make sure to wear the right shoes and use custom orthotics and night splints as needed. Since everyone’s condition is different, try a combination of remedies to see what works best for you.

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