Guide to Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief
Updated on October 11, 2023
Medically Reviewed on Oct 6, 2023
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic foot pain condition that develops when the fibrous band of tissue under our feet—our plantar fascia—becomes irritated and inflamed. There is some belief that it may actually be a degenerative condition, which makes its treatment and management more complex. Despite its name containing “itis,” which usually implies inflammation, this condition is characterized by the absence of inflammatory cells.
Pain typically starts at the heel and can radiate through the sole of the foot. It is the most common source of heel pain in the US, and it can be tricky to treat.
The good news is with the right steps, it can be treated! Read on to discover how to diagnose plantar fasciitis, get plantar fasciitis pain relief, and how to pick shoes for plantar fasciitis.
- Natural Foot StructureIf you have flat feet and roll inwards as you walk, you can strain your plantar fascia in the process and develop heel/arch pain. High-arched feet can also cause plantar fasciitis due to excess pressure being placed on the heel. Plantar fascia can occur in one foot or both.Each of these natural foot structures can cause your plantar fascia to work harder than it needs to, leading to pain and inflammation.Good shoes for plantar fasciitis can help alleviate pain from even the most pain-prone feet.Natural Foot Structure
- Too Much or Little Physical ActivityRunning, playing sports, and other high-impact activities can increase your risk for plantar fasciitis. Aggressive changes in activity can strain the plantar fascia.Yet, paradoxically, so can sitting too still! Our plantar fascia (in fact, all fascia in our bodies) does best with a healthy balance of physical activity and rest.Too Much or Little Physical Activity
- Occupation or HobbiesThose who stand or walk on their feet for long periods during the day—especially on hard surfaces like concrete, tile, or hardwood—have increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. A few occupations with increased PF risk include health care workers, retail and factory workers, cashiers, waiters, and teachers.Occupation or Hobbies
- Shoe TypeWearing shoes without enough arch support and cushion—or footwear that has become worn out—can create more stress on the plantar fascia and heels while standing and walking. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis must include arch-hugging support, shock-absorbing foams, and plenty of heel cushioning. KURU plantar fasciitis shoes always have all three, including patented technology that has helped alleviate thousands of customers’ plantar fasciitis.Shoe Type
- Body WeightIf you have a higher BMI or suddenly gain weight, you’re more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Any increased pressure on your plantar fascia can cause it to work extra hard, leading to irritation and inflammation.Body Weight
- PregnancyCompared to men, women are more than twice as likely to develop plantar fasciitis. While reasons are unclear, one possible reason is pregnancy. Given the additional weight on the tissues of the foot during pregnancy, inflammation can occur, resulting in heel pain. In fact, pregnant women often develop plantar fasciitis in the third trimester.The amount of retained body water by full-term pregnancy averages about 6.5 liters. This, along with hormones will cause the feet to become larger and wider. Arch collapse occurs due to the relaxation of your foot joints, tendons, and ligaments. Due to foot swelling and arch collapse, more weight may be beared on the back of the foot.Pregnancy
Symptoms & Diagnosis
As with any medical condition, it is always best to make an appointment with your doctor to get a formal assessment and diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.
That said, there are a few common symptoms people experience when suffering from plantar fasciitis that might help you know when it’s time to visit the doctor.
- A stabbing or aching pain starting at the base of the heel or in the arch
- Swelling and bruising in the heel and arch
- Pain when stretching the toes in an upward direction
- Increased pain and tightness when waking up in the morning
- Pain that can subside during activity but returns afterward
Your doctor will give you a detailed treatment plan based on your unique case of plantar fasciitis.
That said, there are a few common at-home treatments that can help alleviate pain and inflammation for people with plantar fasciitis.
- Relative Rest: Your doctor will give you a detailed treatment plan based on your unique case of plantar fasciitis. That said, there are a few common at-home treatments that can help alleviate pain and inflammation for people with plantar fasciitis.
- Ice: Applying ice can help reduce pain and inflammation, helping to promote healing. You can ice the affected area 2–3x per day to help manage and improve symptoms.
- Massaging Feet on Ball: Rolling out your arches on a tennis or lacrosse ball can help calm and lengthen the plantar fascia tissue, helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Stretching Exercises: Stretching the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles and tendons can help alleviate stress and pain. See a few stretches and exercises below.
- Night Splints: There are a variety of over-the-counter night splints and specialized socks that help keep your foot in dorsiflexion (foot flexed toward the shin) overnight. This allows the plantar fascia to stay in a lengthened, stretched state to help reduce pain and stiffness.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy might be suggested to stretch both the plantar fascia and calf muscles. Both ultrasound and massage therapies are effective in alleviating pain and enhancing blood circulation.
- Supportive Footwear: If you have plantar fasciitis or heel pain, it’s crucial to invest in a quality pair of supportive shoes. Walking shoes with plenty of arch support and cushion can help reduce stress on the plantar fascia and help prevent the condition from returning.
- Measure your feet (both length and width) with a Brannock Device. This device provides an accurate measurement of your shoe size. If you use orthotics, remember to bring them when selecting shoes. This ensures you can try them on with your new shoes to confirm a proper fit. Periodically, perhaps every month, inspect your shoes for wear. The rate at which shoes wear out can differ based on the shoe type and the wearer’s activity level.
- Standing calf and Achilles tendon stretchStand with one leg about two foot lengths behind the other. Leaning your hands against a wall, keep the back leg straight while bending the front leg. Hold it for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. You may perform the same exercise with the back leg also bent to focus on the lower calf muscle.Standing calf and Achilles tendon stretch
- Toe curls with towelSit on a chair with a small towel on the floor. Place the affected foot flat on the towel and curl up the towel with your toes to pull it toward you. Then let your toes relax and let go of the towel. Do 3 sets of 10 once or twice daily.Toe curls with towel
- Rolling out feetUse a tennis ball or lacrosse ball (or a specialized ball for feet) to perform this exercise. Simply place the ball under your foot, and then roll it back and forth to help loosen the fascia and foot muscles. Try for 2–5 minutes on each side.Rolling out feet
- Seated foot stretchSit on a chair and cross your affected heel over the other leg. Then, create tension in your foot’s arch by pulling your toes toward the shin. Hold for about 10 seconds. Do 2 or 3 sets.Seated foot stretch
- Marble pickupPut several marbles on the floor at the base of a chair. Sit on the chair while keeping your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Then, curl your toes to capture and release each marble. Do this 20 times.Marble pickup
For more serious or chronic cases of plantar fasciitis, more invasive procedures may be necessary. It’s always best to start with conservative, at-home treatments. But if months of this treatment is unsuccessful, here are few additional possible treatments:
- Ultrasonic Tissue RepairThrough ultrasound imaging, this minimally invasive procedure inserts a needle-like probe into the damaged tissue. It quickly vibrates and breaks up the damaged plantar fascia tissue and suctions it out.Ultrasonic Tissue Repair
- Steroid InjectionSteroid injections can offer temporary relief. However, multiple shots should be avoided to protect the integrity of your plantar fascia.Steroid Injection
- EPAT/ESWTEPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology), also known as ESWT (Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy), is a non-invasive treatment option that involves the delivery of acoustic shockwaves to the affected area, promoting healing and reducing pain. The shockwaves stimulate blood flow, increase cell metabolism, and trigger tissue regeneration, addressing the underlying degenerative components of plantar fasciitis.EPAT/ESWT
- (TOPAZ) Micro-Fasciotomy ProcedureDuring this procedure, a small, specialized device called TOPAZ is inserted through tiny incisions in the foot. The TOPAZ device utilizes radiofrequency energy to create small channels or punctures in the affected areas of the plantar fascia. These micro-injuries stimulate the body’s natural healing response, promoting the formation of new tissue and reducing the tension in the plantar fascia.(TOPAZ) Micro-Fasciotomy Procedure
- SurgeryFor severe cases, surgery may be performed to cut and “release” your plantar fascia for more mobility.Surgery for plantar fasciitis can be done arthroscopically with a small incision or an open fasciotomy. This involves resecting a portion of the plantar fascia ligament and thus relieving pain. Surgery should be reserved only for severe cases when conservative therapy fails.Surgery
Wear Supportive Footwear
It’s nearly impossible to keep plantar fasciitis at bay without proper supportive footwear. The arch and plantar fascia require adequate support to stay healthy. Avoid shoes that advertise “memory foam”— this kind of foam makes your feet “sink,” but doesn’t support them long term. Instead, look for shoes with superior arch support, shock-absorbing cushion, and responsive foams—like KURU shoes. Your feet will thank you!
Avoid Walking Barefoot on Hard Floors
Barefoot walking on hard floors—especially tile or concrete—can wreak havoc on the plantar fascia, especially if you are already prone to the condition. Be sure to always wear some type of plantar fasciitis support footwear to help prevent the condition.
Practice Regular Stretching
Stretching your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia regularly can help the muscles, tendons and fascia stay flexible and healthy.
Roll Out Feet Consistently
Massaging the arches on a tennis ball or lacrosse ball can help to break up any adhesions or tension in the tissues, reducing pain and inflammation.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Since increased weight can add extra pressure to our plantar fascia, maintaining a doctor-recommended exercise and nutrition routine can help the body stay at its healthiest weight possible.
- What is fascia?
Fascia is a web of connective tissue that helps hold our bodies, muscles, and organs together. Think of it as the white material when peeling an orange: it not only surrounds the entire sphere, it encases each individual slice. Healthy fascia moves “with” us, but when we sit for too long (or overdo it in a workout), fascia can develop inflammation and adhesions, which can lead to plantar fasciitis.
- What does plantar fasciitis feel like? How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis often presents as an achy, stabbing pain near the heel or through the arches. Some describe it as burning pain from the heel through the bottom of their foot. While it is common to feel extra pain or stiffness upon waking up in the morning, you may also feel pain after an extended workout or sitting down for too long. Your doctor will be best suited to provide an accurate diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.
- How do I treat plantar fasciitis?
Your doctor is the best person to provide you with a compressive treatment plan for plantar fasciitis. That said, most cases of plantar fasciitis can be effectively treated with conservative, at-home treatments. Treatments include relative rest from painful activity, ice, foot stretches and exercises, rolling out the feet on a tennis or lacrosse ball, and wearing supportive footwear.
If weeks of conservative treatments are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend a steroid injection, advanced non-invasive treatment (i.e. Ultrasonic tissue repair or EPAT/ESWT shock-wave therapy), or potentially surgery.
- Do KURU shoes really help with plantar fasciitis heel pain?
If there’s one thing we’re extra inspired by, it’s how many KURU customers who suffer with foot pain, including plantar fasciitis, found relief with our shoes. Thousands of KURU customers have sent us reviews or letters about the way our shoes have helped them get their lives back.
Many people who purchase KURUs for their plantar fasciitis report immediate relief! For others, and for more severe cases, it can take longer. We make it easy to decide if KURU is right for you with free returns and exchanges for 45 days after purchase.
- What causes plantar fasciitis to flare up?
Several factors can trigger heel pain from plantar fasciitis. One of the most common is either too much or too little exercise. You may notice a plantar fasciitis flare up after adding mileage to your running routine or trying a new high-impact sport. A flare up might also come with a sudden increase in body weight—such as during pregnancy—due to the added pressure on your plantar fascia.
To help reduce your risk of plantar fasciitis, wear supportive footwear both around the house and during errands and other physical activity.
- How long can plantar fasciitis last?
Plantar fasciitis usually goes away within 6 to 18 months. The period of recovery, however, depends on several factors, such as your level and kind of physical activity and the consistency of applying home remedies. If at-home treatments are not working, consult a healthcare provider for other treatments and faster recovery.
In our study on foot pain across America, we found the predominant ailment compelling individuals to seek professional assistance from podiatrists to be plantar fasciitis.
A total of 45% of our survey respondents (of 6,030) reported having plantar fasciitis. Additionally, contributing medical experts reported plantar fasciitis as 1 of 3 most common types of foot pain in patients.
The best plantar fasciitis shoes must include superior arch support, shock-absorbing foams, and a deep heel cup with plenty of cushion. A deep heel cup will provide stability and flex when you walk to prevent tightening of your calf muscles. Extra room in the toe box can also give your feet adequate room to lay flat naturally.
- Superior Arch SupportMost doctor-recommended shoes for plantar fasciitis must mold to your arch and support it at its highest point. This allows your arch and surrounding tissues to avoid overwork, which can lead to pain and inflammation.Superior Arch Support
- Shock-Absorbing FoamsHard floors and high-impact activity can cause added stress on the plantar fascia. Shoes with shock absorption help reduce or redistribute shock to keep pain and inflammation at bay.Shock-Absorbing Foams
- Deep Heel CupA rounded, deep heel cup surrounds and protects your heel, which can become extra sensitive with plantar fasciitis.Deep Heel Cup
- Roomy Toe BoxA wide toe box can help every toe lay flat as it should and allow every part of your foot to maintain a healthy position.Roomy Toe Box
Arch Support and Why it Matters
Without arch support, the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles and tendons must work in overdrive—leading to stress, pain, and inflammation.
Adequate arch support allows the foot to relax and lay flat as it should, helping to keep the tissues relaxed, flexible, and supported.
Cushion vs. Support
Fighting foot pain is as much about proper support as it is about cushioning impact.
Yet, too much cushion—think memory foam—can result in the foot sinking without enough responsive support to keep it healthy.
Choosing shoes good for plantar fasciitis requires a balanced combination of cushion and support for lasting pain relief.
Comparing Footwear Brands
|Curved Foot Bed|
|Use Case Specific|
|All-in-One Orthopedic Solution|
|Wide Toe Box|
What makes KURU different? We make shoes shaped like your feet. And we do it in three distinct support layers—not just an insole.
Every pair features a revolutionary ergonomic design that starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support: shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES.
The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis pain is heel pain, and when the pain flares up every step can make you wince. Unlike anything else, our …Show More
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis pain is heel pain, and when the pain flares up every step can make you wince. Unlike anything else, our patented KURUSOLE cushions and hugs your heels to protect you from impact. The dynamic flexing action redirects stress and impact with each step, which can help prevent plantar fasciitis or speed up your recovery!…Show less
Feel like you’re walking on clouds with our KURUCLOUD midsole. The lightweight blend of foams offer plenty of cushion and bounce, …Show More
Feel like you’re walking on clouds with our KURUCLOUD midsole. The lightweight blend of foams offer plenty of cushion and bounce, protecting you from heel to arch to ankle. While plantar fasciitis pain is most common in the heel, your plantar fascia runs the length of your foot and KURUCLOUD helps protect every inch of it.…Show less
Getting the right level of arch support can make finding shoes a chore, and many people turn to expensive orthotics or clumsy inserts they have to …Show More
Getting the right level of arch support can make finding shoes a chore, and many people turn to expensive orthotics or clumsy inserts they have to constantly replace and move from shoe to shoe. Our ULTIMATE INSOLES use space-age foams that harness your own body heat to mold to the unique shape of your feet over time, giving you custom support. ULTIMATE INSOLES protect your plantar fascia with cushion where you want it, and support precisely where you need it!…Show less
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis pain is heel pain, and when the pain flares up every step can make you wince. Unlike anything else, our patented KURUSOLE cushions and hugs your heels to protect you from impact. The dynamic flexing action redirects stress and impact with each step, which can help prevent plantar fasciitis or speed up your recovery!
Feel like you’re walking on clouds with our KURUCLOUD midsole. The lightweight blend of foams offer plenty of cushion and bounce, protecting you from heel to arch to ankle. While plantar fasciitis pain is most common in the heel, your plantar fascia runs the length of your foot and KURUCLOUD helps protect every inch of it.
Getting the right level of arch support can make finding shoes a chore, and many people turn to expensive orthotics or clumsy inserts they have to constantly replace and move from shoe to shoe. Our ULTIMATE INSOLES use space-age foams that harness your own body heat to mold to the unique shape of your feet over time, giving you custom support. ULTIMATE INSOLES protect your plantar fascia with cushion where you want it, and support precisely where you need it!
Fine, We’ll Tell You Our Secret
What makes KURU different? Every KURU shoe comes with built-in patented KURUSOLE tech—a foot health game changer.
While other shoes are flat on the inside, KURUSOLE is shaped like your foot to hug and prevent fatigue and pain.
Great for Plantar fasciitis and wide toe box. I bought two pair this time around because these have been the best shoes I’ve ever found to help me with plantar fasciitis. I’m on my feet a lot, mostly on tile or hardwood floors, and these keep my feet from hurting. I also have a hard time finding shoes that accommodate the width at my toes, and these have enough room. Definitely worth the money!”
Reduces plantar fasciitis pain as advertised. They work as described, emphasizing that “as described” here includes the break in period instructions. The insert has a standard base shape at first that is somewhat uncomfortable, but during break it forms well to your foot. Mine felt pretty well matched to my foot after 3 or 4 days despite 2 weeks being suggested. I do not spend long hours on my feet, but I run in them every morning and my plantar fasciitis pain is almost non-existent.”
Best shoe for Plantar fasciitis ever. Have had no pain since wearing them. I was in excruciating pain before finding KURU.”
Fantastic! I bought these because I have plantar fasciitis in both feet and one foot has a heel spur. These sneakers are excellent, I can now walk comfortable again and no pain. I just wish I had known of this company before. I will be buying all my sneakers from them. Great fit from the first day and I didn’t even have to wear them in. They were also a true fit on the size.”
Soooooooooo comfortable!!! I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis for a while and this shoe has helped greatly in reducing pain. The support these shoes provide have even helped other knee and back pains that I had not associated with my feet. Would recommend these to everyone.”
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa
Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa is a Board-Certified Podiatrist with nearly a decade of experience in practicing Podiatry. Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa received her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University. She went on to receive her Doctorate-degree in Podiatric Medicine at Dr. William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, IL.
She completed her surgical residency at Beaumont Wayne Hospital in Wayne, MI, where she received high level of hands on surgical training in trauma and reconstructive surgery. She is Board Certified in Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa currently practices full-time in Jackson, MI at Summit Podiatry Group. She specializes in conservative and surgical treatment of foot and ankle ailments. Over the years, Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa has gained extensive experience in treating foot and ankle pathology and has completed thousands of surgeries.
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS
Dr. John is a Fellowship-trained, Board Certified, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, with 4-years of comprehensive Foot and Ankle Surgery and Medicine training. He practices in Austin, TX.
He is Dual Board Certified, with certifications by The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ABFAS) and The American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM). He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
Dr. John completed a 1-year Reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgery and Research Fellowship with the internationally renowned Weil Foot-Ankle and Orthopedic Institute in Chicago, IL. This Reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgical Fellowship is the longest running American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) recognized fellowship in Reconstructive Foot and Ankle surgery. Prior to the Fellowship, he completed the prestigious and nationally respected 3-year Foot and Ankle Surgical Residency training at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Texas Podiatric Medical Association (TPMA), 2023 Special Service Award
- Texas Podiatric Medical Association (TPMA), 2015 Young Practitioner of the Year