Patient Education

Heel Pain/Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a ligament that runs from the bottom of your heel to your toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in pain.

The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. People with low arches (flat feet) or high arches are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis because of the strain these types of feet put on the plantar fascia. Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts increased strain on the plantar fascia and can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia resulting in plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when one's job requires long hours on the feet. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
People with plantar fasciitis can experience pain in the bottom of the heel or arch. They often describe the pain that is worse when they get up in the morning or after they've been sitting for long periods of time. After the person gets up and walks around the pain may decrease, but the pain returns after spending long periods of time on his or her feet.

For most people, conservative treatment is all that is needed. There are many different types of non-surgical treatment for plantar fasciitis including stretching, icing, medication, strappings, shoe modifications and custom made shoe inserts or orthotics. There are surgical options if conservative treatment fails. Treatment is different for everyone and you and your podiatrist will decide what is best for you.

Ask The Doctor About Heel Pain

Why does my heel hurt first thing in the morning?

Is heel pain the same as plantar fasciitis?

Do I need orthotics?

Why is my child having intense heel pain?

What should I look for in a running shoe or sneaker?

What are the treatments for plantar fasciitis?

Office Locations

Gaithersburg Office
PNC Bank Building
702 Russell Avenue, Suite 103
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 948-FOOT (3668)

Suitland Office
5001 Silver Hill Road, Suite A
Suitland, MD 20746
(301) 736-6900

Rockville Office
11801 Rockville Pike, Suite 105
Rockville, MD 20852