Runners Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

February 20, 2024

Blog Updated 20th February 2024

With the results of the Great North Run Ballot being released, a lot of runners will now be dusting of their shoes and putting in the miles in preparation for a new PB!

Throughout a runner’s journey, a common condition they may face is Plantar Fasciitis, a symptom that arises due to extended periods of running and exercise. The stress and strain from these activities can lead to inflammation and tension in the fascia, which can in turn affect the muscles and tendons of the foot and lower leg. The plantar fascia is the connective tissue which supports the arch of the foot. An indicator of Plantar Fasciitis is experiencing sharp pain at the base of the heel when taking the first step out of bed in the morning. While some runners might push through with a mild case of Plantar Fasciitis without addressing the root cause, others risk worsening the condition by continuing to run, causing further damage to the ligaments, and resulting in severe pain that hinders walking and makes running nearly impossible.

There is a common misconception that Plantar Fasciitis only affects long-distance runners, but this is inaccurate. The condition is triggered by the consistent pressure on the heel of the foot, making individuals engaged in high-impact sports susceptible to it as well. One issue with running is that individuals tend to overpronate (foot rolls inward) to alleviate discomfort, yet this action increases strain on the ligament.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis in runners is usually caused by:

  • sharp increase in mileage
  • big increase in speed work
  • weak feet or arches
  • improper shoes for your strike and foot (pronation)
  • tight calf muscles (lack of stretching)
  • tight achilles tendon

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis:

  • sharp stabbing or aching pain in the heel
  • sharp stabbing or aching pain in the arch (location depends on cause)
  • trouble walking after getting out of bed in the morning
  • same issue after sitting for long periods, but pain dissipates with movement.

Plantar Fasciitis Management for Different Running Levels

Experienced Runners:

  • If you’re a seasoned runner experiencing Plantar Fasciitis, take a break to let your foot heal.
  • Focus on stretching both feet multiple times a day and use a foam roller for your legs and calves.
  • Check your running shoes for wear and consider replacing them if needed.
  • Gradually resume running at a reduced intensity and work back up to your regular routine once symptoms improve.


  • For beginners with mild to moderate Plantar Fasciitis, continue incorporating running into your fitness regimen.
  • Begin with a mix of walking and jogging, followed by rest days to allow your feet to recover.
  • Slowly increase the duration and intensity of your walking and jogging sessions.
  • If the condition worsens, avoid running until symptoms subside.

What treatment aids with Plantar Fasciitis?

Pinpointing the cause of the symptoms is crucial as addressing them will be a vital part of the treatment. Keeping in mind that there is no one size fits all the assessment of both lower limb biomechanics and foot type/ characteristics also played an important part in treatment planning.

Biomechanics of the Lower Limb:
The alignment of the leg in conjunction with the pelvis during movement, along with the position of the knee, can influence the distribution of weight on the foot. Patients experiencing Plantar Fascia pain often have to address issues further up their kinetic chain.

Foot Characteristics:
Individuals with extremely flat feet may benefit from consulting a podiatrist. Podiatrists are experts in crafting personalized orthotics to alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia.

Initially, treatment focuses on relieving pressure from the plantar fascia. At Physiotherapy Matters, our skilled physiotherapists offer treatment recommendations tailored to your symptoms at any stage of the condition.

Available treatment techniques:


  • This method is highly effective in reducing pain and providing immediate relief.
  • While not a permanent solution, it can help alleviate symptoms initially.

Massage Therapy:

  • The effectiveness of massage therapy depends on whether the Plantar Fascia is tight or simply painful.
  • If tightness is the issue, massage can temporarily ease the pain.
  • However, if irritation is present, using taping and corrective footwear is the preferred approach.


  • Utilizes shoe inserts or orthotics to provide arch support for the foot. By relieving pressure from the plantar fascia. This aids in healing and preventing additional inflammation.

Exercise Prescription:

  • A guided exercise program focusing on strength, balance, flexibility all which help to relief pain and restore function.

Sometimes the initial offloading and correction of biomechanical and training issues does not alleviate symptoms, and then other treatments may be considered:

  • Acupuncture – definitely not a first line treatment but is very useful in conjunction with other treatment modalities to help to alleviate pain.
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy – Good evidence base now to show it has a positive effect on the painful symptoms.
  • Corticosteroid injection – this may be useful in the short-term but must be combined with other treatments as above.

If you suspect you have symptoms of plantar fasciitis or any other running or sports-related injury, consider a physiotherapy assessment. Reach out to schedule a comprehensive assessment with one of our physiotherapists here at Physiotherapy Matters.

For bookings and enquiries, contact our reception staff at 0191 285 8701.

No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

Book an Appointment