Sometimes we don’t realize what we put our feet through until our bodies finally signal that something is wrong. Unfortunately, overuse and strain from what may seem like ordinary activities can lead to foot injuries that cause discomfort and disrupt our everyday lives.
If you’re experiencing intense and repetitive heel pain, then you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries that causes a pronounced, sharp pain towards the bottom of your foot.
If that’s the case, you might be wondering: does plantar fasciitis go away?
Thankfully, the answer is yes, although cases may vary depending on the situation and severity of the injury. If you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, it’s recommended you learn more about the condition. It’s also important to find the right shoes for plantar fasciitis. In this quick guide, we can help you understand its causes, your treatment options, and how you can prevent plantar fasciitis pain in the future.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia ligament is a thick line of rubber band-like tissue that connects from your heel to your toes. It usually absorbs shock and helps support the arch of your foot, but when it gets inflamed and swollen, you experience pain when you’re standing or walking.1
This type of injury, also known as plantar fasciitis, occurs when there is too much pressure and strain on your feet, and something irritates or tears the ligament. There isn’t always a clear cause of injury, but common risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:2
- If you have structural foot problems (flat-footed or high arches)
- If you’re a runner or athlete
- If you tend to overpronate when you walk or run
- If you’re constantly on your feet for work or lifestyle reasons
- If you don’t probably stretch before exercises
- If you wear non-supportive shoes
- If you are obese, overweight, or suddenly put on weight that caused additional pressure to your feet
One in ten people may be affected by plantar fasciitis at one point in their lives, particularly if they’re between 40 and 60 years old, overweight, or athletes.3
To that end, you may experience plantar fasciitis in one or both feet.
How Do I Know If I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
So how do you know if you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis? First things first, are you experiencing a sharp or dull pain—like an ache—that’s developed over time?
While you may notice yourself exhibiting common symptoms, it’s more reliable to receive a physical examination and diagnosis from a medical professional. While home remedies can be helpful, knowing when to see a podiatrist is important in preventing further damage to your feet.
Your doctor may check the following things during your examination:
- Whether there is any redness, tenderness, or swelling in your foot
- Your past health and medical history
- Your reflexes, balance, coordination, and strength of your muscles
- How active you are and what types of exercises you do
- Whether pressure can be placed on your plantar fascia while you flex without intensifying the pain4
Because plantar fasciitis is often diagnosed by eliminating other causes of your pain, your evaluation may also include:
- Bone scans
These tests can help your doctor determine whether your foot pain is coming from some other condition, such as peroneal tendonitis, arthritis, or tendinitis. If you’re exhibiting these common plantar fasciitis symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor for an examination:
- Dull, sharp, or stabbing pain in the bottom heel, or towards the arch of your foot
- Pain that lessens as you move around more
- Recurring pain that lasts months
- Pain that intensifies after prolonged exercise, but not during
- Tightness in your Achilles tendon2
- Difficulty ascending stairs
- Increased intensity in pain in the morning or when you rise after sitting or lying down for long periods
Does Plantar Fasciitis Go Away?
Will plantar fasciitis go away on its own? It’s possible. Without treatment, your foot can usually heal itself between 6 to 18 months assuming no additional strain occurs. That said, consistent, noninvasive treatment for at least 6 months can help patients recover 97% of the time.4 Lifestyle adjustments can also help you take preventative measures against future flare-ups.
Sometimes you might be experiencing other types of pain that could imply a pinched nerve in your foot or perhaps another problem. Making sure you’re treating the right condition is key. We’ll go over some tips and treatment remedies you can try at home to relieve pain and help your foot recover from plantar fasciitis.
Rest is a key part of letting your body execute its healing process. While you’re injured, avoid running or walking on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Don’t aggravate the inflammation with activities or exercises that cause foot pain, and keep your weight off your foot. Also, try to keep your foot elevated on a pillow or ottoman when reclining.
Switch to Low Impact Exercises
While you should avoid high-impact forms of exercise while you have plantar fasciitis, you can still keep an active lifestyle without triggering a flare-up. Low impact exercises, such as swimming, can even aid the healing process.5
Other forms of exercise you can try include but are not limited to:
- Stationary Bikes
- Rowing machines
Daily stretching exercises can help your plantar fascia release tension from your foot. Stretches can help with pain relief and strengthen your body to prevent future injuries or inside ankle pain.
Since overuse may lead to injury, stretching is an important method to alleviating tautness from overworked muscles. Try these stretching exercises to help with pain relief:4
- Calf stretches that loosen muscle tightness
- Gently and slowly flexing your foot
- Rolling stretches using a round object underneath your foot
- Stretching your plantar fascia
- Performing toe curls with towels
- Picking up marbles with toe flexes and curls
- Heel raises
These stretches should not hurt, so stop and pay attention if you feel pain. Correct your form or consult a physical trainer. With that being said, try to keep up these stretches at least twice every day.
Ice Your Feet
If you’re feeling intense pain—particularly after a bout of strenuous physical activity—ice might just be your new best friend. Cold compresses and ice packs can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief by numbing the nerves.6
Holding an ice pack to your foot can do the trick in a pinch, but you can also try freezing a water bottle and using it to massage your feet.
While seated, roll the bottle underneath your foot to stretch it. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes a day, especially after being on your feet for a long period of time.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Sometimes ice just doesn’t cut it. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain, try over-the-counter painkillers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen can help give respite while reducing inflammation from your injuries.
If the pain persists even after you’ve tried other forms of treatment, you may need to go back to consult a medical professional. A doctor might suggest the following treatments:4
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic or acupuncture treatment
- Cortisone injections
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (EST)
Some doctors may suggest surgery if there’s no improvement after 6 to 12 months, although this is uncommon and not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Seeing a physical therapist can help strengthen the calf muscles and other surrounding muscles to help support the foot in its entirety and minimize foot pain over time. If you’re going to physical therapy regularly, your physical therapist might recommend a shoe insert.
Wear Supportive Shoes
Wearing the wrong types of shoes may have contributed to your injury in the first place, so it’s no surprise that having the right footwear can be an important part of your path to recovery.
Avoid flat shoes that don’t provide the right support, and don’t walk barefoot. You don’t want to place extra strain on the tissues and further aggravate the injury.7
Instead, try wearing shoes that match your foot and biomechanics. Some people find that arch supports—like heel lifts or foot inserts (orthotics)—provide their feet with the added stability and cushion they need. An orthotic or insoles can help minimize chronic heel pain.
If you’re not sure which shoes are right for you, consult a podiatrist.
Get a Leg Up on Your Plantar Fasciitis With Vionic
The best type of treatment is a preventative one.
By wearing shoes that offer you the comfort you need, you can aid your recovery process and safeguard your future foot health. For that, the experts here at Vionic put your needs first with shoes that help mitigate your plantar fasciitis and prevent future flare-ups.
Our shoes are designed to absorb shock from impact, support your arches, and stabilize your feet whether they’re hitting the dance floor or stepping on sand. Vionic’s biomedical footbed is recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), and they’re integrated into all of our shoes.
By looking at all your treatment options, consulting with a doctor, and making some lifestyle changes, there’s a strong likelihood your plantar fasciitis will go away. We hope it happens sooner rather than later!
- Christine Case-Lo. “Everything You Want to Know About Plantar Fasciitis”. Healthline. Updated on November 8, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/plantar-fasciitis
- “Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment”. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14709-plantar-fasciitis
- “Plantar Fasciitis – Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment”. BMJ Best Practice US. Updated Nov 27, 2019, https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/487#referencePop2
- Zawn Villines . “Plantar Fasciitis Stretches: 6 Exercises and Other Home Remedies”. Medical News Today. Feb 4, 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324353
- Katy Bergen. “Can I Swim with Plantar Fasciitis?”. U.S. Masters Swimming. Dec 25, 2019, https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/can-i-swim-with-plantar-fasciitis
- Brett Sears. “Ice Bottle Massage for Plantar Fasciitis”. Verywell Health. Updated on Nov 19, 2020 https://www.verywellhealth.com/ice-bottle-massage-for-plantar-fasciitis-2696407
- “Chronic Heel Pain? 4 Simple Fixes for Your Plantar Fasciitis”. Cleveland Clinic. Jan 9, 2020, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/chronic-heel-pain-4-simple-fixes-for-your-plantar-fasciitis/