Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch. You can usually ease the pain yourself but see a GP if it does not improve within 2 weeks.
Check if you have plantar fasciitis
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch.
It's more likely to be plantar fasciitis if:
- the pain is much worse when you start walking after sleeping or resting
- the pain feels better during exercise, but returns after resting
- it's difficult to raise your toes off the floor
How to ease plantar fasciitis yourself
If you see a GP, they'll usually suggest you try these things:
rest and raise your foot on a stool when you can
put an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) in a towel on the painful area for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
wear shoes with cushioned heels and good arch support
use insoles or heel pads in your shoes
try regular gentle stretching exercises
try exercises that do not put pressure on your feet, such as swimming
try to lose weight if you’re overweight
do not take ibuprofen for the first 48 hours
do not walk or stand for long periods
do not wear high heels or tight pointy shoes
do not wear flip-flops or backless slippers
try not to walk barefoot on hard surfaces
A pharmacist can help with plantar fasciitis
You can ask a pharmacist about:
- the best painkiller to take
- insoles and pads for your shoes
- if you need to see a GP
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- you have pain in the bottom of your foot that is severe or stopping you doing normal activities
- the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
- the pain has not improved after treating it yourself for 2 weeks
- you have any tingling or loss of feeling in your foot
- you have diabetes and foot pain – foot problems can be more serious if you have diabetes
What we mean by severe pain
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- always there
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
- comes and goes
- is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities
Treatment for plantar fasciitis from a foot specialist
If plantar fasciitis does not get better, a GP might refer you to a physiotherapist or foot specialist (podiatrist).
A physiotherapist can show you exercises to help ease your symptoms. A podiatrist can recommend things like insoles and the right shoes to wear.
Physiotherapy is available free of charge on the NHS throughout the UK but waiting times can sometimes be long.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to self-refer or you may need to visit a GP or consultant first.
Podiatry may not be available for free on the NHS everywhere and waiting times can sometimes be long.
You can also pay to see a podiatrist or physiotherapist privately.
Read more about accessing physiotherapy.
Common causes of plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the part of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
It's not always clear why this happens.
You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:
- are 40 to 60 years of age
- 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
Page last reviewed: 07 February 2022
Next review due: 07 February 2025