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Plantar fasciitis

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.

The bottom of a foot with some red shading at the back of the foot, towards the heel, showing where the pain of plantar fasciitis is felt.

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

  • take painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen

  • 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 for accessing physiotherapy can sometimes be long.

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.


Self-refer for treatment

If you have plantar fasciitis, you might be able to refer yourself directly to services for help with your condition without seeing a GP.

To find out if there are any services in your area:

  • ask the reception staff at your GP surgery
  • check your GP surgery's website
  • contact your integrated care board (ICB) – find your local ICB
  • search online for NHS treatment for plantar fasciitis near you

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