Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a term that has come to be used for general heel pain. There are over 40 conditions which might cause heel pain, but only some of these are due to damage, such as tearing, fraying or crushing, to the plantar fascia. This is the thick tissue that runs underneath your foot connecting your heel bone to your toes. Typically, the pain is worse in the morning, gets better as you move around and then comes back later in the day after a period of inactivity.

You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:

  • recently started exercising on hard surfaces
  • exercise with a tight calf or heel
  • overstretch the sole of your foot during exercise
  • recently started doing a lot more walking, running or standing up
  • wear shoes with poor cushioning or support
  • are very overweight

Successful treatment depends on getting the correct diagnosis of the underlying cause. Things that might help are:

  • ice, arch roll, calf stretch, arch rise
  • steroid injection, ultrasound, low level laser, ECSWT (shockwave), surgical release
  • acupuncture, footwear changes, orthotic insoles, diet, supplements
  • mobilisation, strength and conditioning exercises

Pilates can help with the later as it aims to ensure good alignment and balance mobility and strength, not just of the foot and ankle joints, but of the whole of your body. Specific exercises for plantar fasciitis might be:

  • foot and ankle stability
  • foot shortening
  • plantar intrinsic strengthening
  • calf flexibility
  • general flexibility
  • proximal strength

This information was taken from a recent workshop that I attended by Ian Sadler and the NHS website. For more information and to visit Ian’s specialist biomechanics clinic based in Norwich, go to

Click to find an NHS podiatrist.