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Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a sharp pain in the heel or middle of the foot and is caused by inflammation of the tissue on the sole of the foot.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and foot pain. It is seen most often in runners and people who are overweight.

Pain from Plantar Fasciitis normally presents itself as stabbing pain with your first steps in the morning or after a long period of rest. As you start moving the pain normally decreases but often returns after periods of standing or sitting.

The reason for the pain to present like this is because Plantar Fasciitis involves the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. As it warms up and becomes more elastic the pain reduces.

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How to test for Plantar Fasciitis.

At Riixo we always recommend speaking to a medical professional to better understand a condition and fully diagnose but this test can help identify if you have Plantar Fasciitis.

Test 1

  1. Sitting down on a chair with your feet on the ground, knees and hips at 90º.
  2. Bring your painful foot up so it is resting on your other knee
  3. Using the hand from the same side as the painful foot (left foot = left hand), grip your toes and gently pull them towards you applying a stretch along the bottom of the foot.

If this triggers your symptoms then it is likely that you have Plantar Fascitis.


Test 2

  1. This test can be done in sitting, with your feet on the floor.
  2. Bend forward so you can touch your toes comfortably.
  3. On the painful foot gently extend the big toe towards you keeping the rest of the foot on the ground.
  4. This will apply a gentle stretch to the bottom of the foot bringing on your symptoms.

If this triggers your symptoms then it is likely that you have Plantar Fascitis.

What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and the arch of the foot.

It is often described as a sharp stabbing pain in a localised area about the size of a 10p coin (US Quarter).

The inflammation in the plantar fascia may make it difficult to lift your toes off the ground. The pain will temporarily ease with movement such as walking or running. This is due to the soft tissue warming up and becoming more elastic. Warm baths can also help to ease symptoms and during particularly acute onsets of pain, ice will reduce swelling and discomfort.

With plantar fasciitis, the pain will be worse first thing in the morning or after long periods of rest such as standing stationary or sitting.

Supportive shoes with a cushioned base can provide support. A good pair of running trainers or hill walking shoes will work best.


What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The root cause of plantar fasciitis is poorly understood but research shows that the primary contributing factors are:

  1. Weight. If you are overweight or have obesity then you are at a higher risk of Plantar Fasciitis. This is due to the increased pressure on your plantar fascia ligaments.
  2. Endurance Exercise. Long-distance runners are prone to Plantar Fasciitis, especially if you train on hard surfaces. Ballet dancing and aerobic dance can also contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
  3. People who have an active job where you are often on your feet spending long work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can be at increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
  4. Foot Mechanics & gait. This can change the loading through the foot and affect the way that the weight is distributed placing added stress on the Plantar Fascia. Structural foot issues, such as high arches or flat feet are also a contributing factor.
  5. Calf tightness. The additional force applied to the Achilles can affect the mechanics of the foot and reduces the range of movement at the ankle. In doing so additional stress is placed on the foot to compensate.
  6. Shoes with soft soles, poor arch support or degraded support from being worn out can contribute to and increase your risk.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis.

The POLICE method

When acute pain first appears follow this protocol:

  • P: Protect the area. This can be changing footwear to something more supportive.
  • OL: Optimal Loading. Take as much weight as you can without making things worse. You may need rest, different footwear or crutches.
  • I: Ice the area for 20 minutes at a time to relieve inflammation.
  • C: Compress the area with a soft wrap to reduce swelling.
  • E: Elevate the area by putting the foot on a few pillows.

Ice massage. Some people find that massaging the injured foot with ice helps relieve foot pain. The best approach is to focus on massaging the arch of the foot around the injured area you can do this using the Riixo Ice ball.

Anti-inflammatory medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, reduce both pain and inflammation. It is important to seek a doctor’s advice and take any medication according to the instructions on the package.

Some people find that a few weeks of NSAID helps to improve their symptoms.


Shoe inserts

Shoe inserts provide the arch of the foot with additional support. Inserts limit aid with the weight distribution through the foot minimising any stress on the plantar fascia. Shoe insoles may be especially beneficial for people who spend much of the day on their feet.

Ice Massage

This is designed to provide localised pain relief to the bottom of the foot as well as reduce inflammation of the Plantar Fascia.

  1. Sit on a chair with your foot on the floor. Ideally, do this on a carpeted floor or place a folded towel on the ground.
  2. Remove the Riixo Ice ball (or a frozen bottle of water) out of the freezer and place it under your painful foot.
  3. Roll the ice ball under the foot back and forth from the heel to the ball of the foot with moderate pressure.

Duration and intensity

  • Complete this for 2-3 minutes.
  • Only do this a maximum of 2 times a day any more and you may cause irritation to the area.


  • If the ice ball is too cold you can place a tea towel over the top as a barrier.

Standing Calf Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other toes pointing forward.
  • Place your hands on the wall and lean forward bending the knee closest to the wall.
  • Keep the heel of the foot behind you pressed into the ground.
  • You should feel the stretch through the Achilles tendon and calf muscle

Frequency and duration

  • Hold for a count of 30 seconds on each leg
  • Complete frequently throughout the day.


  • Harder - complete this exercise on a step allowing your heel to drop lower increasing the stretch.
  • Soleus stretch - Bend the rear knee slightly but keeping your heel on the ground. This will target the deeper muscles in the calves.


Towel pick up with the foot.

This simple exercise is designed to help strengthen the small intrinsic muscles in the foot.

  1. Place a tea towel or some kitchen roll on the ground in front of a chair.
  2. Sit in the chair and place your foot on the towel or tissue.
  3. Spread your toes out opening up your foot then grip the towel or tissue.
  4. If you are using a towel then scrunch it up then spread it flat again.
  5. If you are using tissue try to pick it off the ground about 1-2cm.

Frequency and duration

  • Repeat this 12 times on each foot
  • Complete this exercises twice a day



The information on this site is intended for educational purposes.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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