Plantar Fasciitis: Causes & Treatments

By Athlete's Care on September 07, 2023

It’s no surprise why plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions treated by the physiotherapists, chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists at our Toronto clinics – about one in ten Canadians will experience it over their lifetime.

For most, it involves minor discomfort that diminishes over time. For others, the damage is more severe, and treatment should involve medical professionals.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick web of flexible connective tissue that runs down the bottom of your foot from the front of the foot back to the heel bone. It's the structure that holds up the arch of your foot.

  • The ligament can become overly stressed by over use;
  • It may also rupture because of a bad slip on uneven ground.

Either way, it becomes inflamed, and causes pain. That's plantar fasciitis.

Those with either high arches or flat feet are particularly susceptible to plantar fasciitis, as well as anyone who works on their feet, or plays sports that involve running and/or making sudden moves, such as football. Pregnant women, and anyone else who gains more than about 7 or 8 kg within a period of a few months, are also prone to acquire the condition.


  • Pain at the heel bone – the most typical;
  • The pain may extend under the arch;
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the foot;
  • Swelling around the heel;
  • A tight feeling around the Achilles tendon;
  • It's worst first thing in the morning, or getting up to walk after a long period seated;
  • It improves as you exercise, to a moderate degree.

What can you do at home?

Even if the pain is severe, and you’re waiting for an appointment with one of our Toronto physiotherapists or other sports medicine specialists, there are measures you can take to reduce the symptoms. They include:

  • Ice – a bag of frozen peas will nicely accommodate any shape, and can be reused (but of course never eaten);
  • Rest – the tried and true works, including avoiding the kind of activity that caused the stress;
  • Medications – over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen;
  • Stretching the foot back and forth, as much as you can without causing severe pain.

When should you seek professional medical attention? If your symptoms have not significantly improved within 5 to 7 days, please contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.

How a physiotherapist or other healthcare provider can help

There are several options for treatment that involve physical therapy, and musculoskeletal specialists like the ones at our Toronto clinics. Here are some of the treatments available:

  • An exercise regimen of stretching and supporting the various structures of the foot can help to reduce inflammation and pain;
  • Orthotics, shoe inserts, and other devices such as a walking boot which can take the pressure off the plantar fascia can be very helpful;
  • Massage therapy can help to relieve symptoms, as well as increase blood flow, which helps to speed healing.

Injectibles & Other Therapies

Beyond physical therapy and aids, there are other available treatments that can help.

  • Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory properties, and are often suggested to target the plantar fascia itself;
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) can help to promote healing and tissue repair;
  • Shockwave therapy, uses sound waves to increase the blood flow and help promote healing.

Surgery is usually considered only when other treatments have not improved the situation.

If you are experiencing persistent heel pain, or any other issue with the heel, foot or lower leg, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation.