What the heck is Plantar Fasciitis?

By Takia McClendon

Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury in the running community. If you haven't suffered from plantar fasciitis, you probably know someone who has. But what is it exactly? Most people will describe it as severe "heel or arch pain" but there's a little more to it. In this post, we'll discuss how plantar fasciitis develops and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is plantar fasciitis? It's the pulling and tearing in a fibrous band in the foot - the plantar fascia - that begins in the heel and travels under the arch. 

Where does it come from? There's a few ways to develop plantar fasciitis. Some of the most common ways include:

  • doing too much too fast (increasing mileage too quickly)
  • excessive pronation (excessive collapsing of the ankles and arches)
  • wearing non-supportive shoes

Our plantar fascia (remember, the fibrous band?) doesn't do well under stress. It can't really stretch so it tears when it is pulled. Ouch. When it tears, it is replaced with scar tissue that leads to inflammation. Can you see how this cycle can cause so much pain? 



No worries. Plantar fasciitis can be prevented and treated with the following: 

  • wearing supportive shoes
  • taping - using KT Tape or Muscle Tape
  • stretching the calves and/or trying toe raises
  • icing the heel after your run
  • using a foot roller or massage ball 
  • using arch supports/orthotics in your running shoes
  • taking recovery seriously - it's okay to take time off

If you think you have plantar fasciitis and you've tried a few of the methods we mentioned above, we recommend seeing an orthopedist as soon as possible.  

Have you ever suffered from plantar fasciitis? What did you do to recover? Let us know in the comments section.  

Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She's a shoe expert and manager at a running store in Philadelphia and a Certified Level 1 USATF Coach. Follow her online at @takiamcclendon. 

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