If you have heel pain and arch pain at the same time, there could be one common cause: plantar fasciitis. But what is this condition, why does it make your arch and heel hurt, and what can we do about it at our Powder Springs podiatry practice? Here’s what you need to know.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that develops when you overstretch or overload your plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue that’s located on the bottom of your foot. Now, your fascia has a big job to do in your foot: it’s supposed to support your arch. So, when you put that band of tissue under too much strain, it can degrade—even developing tiny tears—and become inflamed, causing several intrusive symptoms, including heel and arch pain.

Why heel pain and arch pain are both plantar fasciitis symptoms Woman holding foot at the arch

When podiatrists like Dr. Alvin Cowans talk about this condition, the most common symptom we discuss is heel pain. And, certainly, heel pain is a common symptom of plantar fasciitis. In fact, you often get your diagnosis when you experience heel pain that’s worst first thing in the morning, right when you get out of bed. (It tends to improve as you walk around, but could return if you remain immobile for long periods of time.) Yet, this is not the only warning sign of plantar fasciitis. Other symptoms include:

  • Bottom of foot pain, located near your heel, that’s dull and achy, or sharp and stabbing.
  • Burning or aching pain in your arch (remember, the plantar fascia supports your arch, so this part of your foot can be impacted when the fibrous tissue band is inflamed, overstretched or torn.)
  • Foot, arch or heel pain that appears after completing an exercise routine, or after climbing a flight of stairs.
  • Spots on your foot, especially near your heel, become tender to the touch.
  • Your foot feels stiff, especially after long periods of inactivity, making it difficult to walk.

Plantar fasciitis causes

Now you know that stretching and inflammation in your plantar fascia can lead to heel pain and arch pain, among other symptoms. But how can your plantar fascia get into trouble? Causes of inflammation and overuse include:

  • Overuse due to repetitive, stressful activities including running and jumping.
  • Abruptly increasing your activity levels.
  • Running for long distances, or training on uneven surfaces or downhill slopes.
  • Weight gain, since extra pounds puts more pressure on your arches and heels.
  • Pregnancy
  • Having a flat foot or a high-arched foot.
  • Wearing soft-soled, worn out or unsupportive sneakers.
  • Having a tight Achilles tendon, or tightness in your calf muscles.


Once you understand what causes plantar fasciitis, we can try to prevent this painful inflammation with smarter training, better shoe choices, and plenty of stretching. First, let’s start with shoe choice, since a pair of properly supportive sneakers can go a long way towards preventing the heel pain and arch pain of plantar fasciitis.

Make sure to choose shoes with lots of arch support, so that the pressure of your daily activity is spread evenly across the foot, preventing overloading of the plantar fascia. Shoes should also have plenty of cushioning in the forefoot and heel, helping with shock absorption and taking stress away from your fibrous band of tissue. Adding soft heel pads to your shoes can also help reduce strain on your fascia by cushioning and elevating your heel. Finally, many patients can help prevent plantar fasciitis by wearing custom orthotics. (These will be especially important if you have high arches or flat feet.)

Next, you’ll want to focus on regular stretching, since studies show that regular stretching for eight weeks could cut existing plantar fasciitis in half, also helping prevent this condition if you don’t yet have heel pain and/or arch pain. Any kind of stretching is helpful, but you want to pay particular attention to your calf muscles and plantar fascia in order to reduce or prevent pain and inflammation.

Relieving heel pain and arch pain with plantar fasciitis treatment

If you’re already suffering from plantar fasciitis, we have several treatment options available in our Powder Springs podiatry practice, conveniently located in the Lost Mountain region. Treatment options include:

  • Resting from stressful activities such as running, so that your plantar fascia has a chance to heal. During  this time, you should still be able to stay active with lower impact activities such as swimming or biking.  
  • Icing your affected foot or feet daily, for between 15 and 20 minutes, at least three times a day. If you have heel pain and arch pain, you may benefit from rolling a frozen water bottle along the bottom of your foot.  
  • Daily stretching or even physical therapy can help loosen tight muscles and tendons to take pressure off your fascia, speeding healing.
  • Wearing a night splint—a device that stretches your plantar fascia while you sleep—can effectively reduce fasciitis-related heel pain in the morning.
  • Over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, can help manage pain while reducing your inflammation.  
  • Laser therapy can also help reduce your plantar fasciitis pain at a faster pace, keeping the pain away for as long as three months, according to this scientific review.

Does plantar fasciitis ever go away?

When you’re living with the heel pain and arch pain of plantar fasciitis, it may feel like you’ll never find relief. Thankfully, that’s just not the case. Now, the pain and inflammation of this condition may resolve without intervention. But that process could take as long as a year, and that’s just too long to be living in discomfort.

A better option? Reach out to our office and request an appointment as soon as you notice heel pain or arch pain. When treated early, minimally invasive treatments are highly effective against plantar fasciitis. So what are you waiting for? Relief is just a call or click away!