Signs That Your Plantar Fasciopathy Is Healing

Signs That Your Plantar Fasciopathy Is Healing

Plantar fasciopathy can be a frustrating condition, and its symptoms range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain that can put a swift end to any training you’ve been doing. Not only can it interrupt training, it can affect daily necessities like walking and standing, too. 

If you are suffering from this annoying condition, you’re probably keen to know when your plantar fasciopathy is showing signs of healing enough that you can start to use your foot normally again. 

At The Feets, our aim is to keep your feet in ship-shape so you can continue to rack up those PBs or empty miles (whatever floats your boat!) and keep the momentum with your athletic goals. Here, we’re taking a closer look at what plantar fasciopathy is, what causes it, how to encourage faster healing, and the top signs that it is actually healing so you can get back to doing what you love, faster. 


As a reminder, what is plantar fasciopathy?

You might already know a bit about this if you have identified it as the problem you’re facing, but if not, plantar fasciopathy is a common foot condition that’s sometimes referred to as Policeman's Heel. Plantar fasciopathy can lead to inflammation of the tissue that runs along the sole of your foot (known as the plantar fascia), which is there to help support the arch of your foot, as well as absorb any shock your foot experiences while walking, running and so on. This condition will affect around 1 in 10 people to some degree at some point in their life. 

man running in trainers


What causes it? 

Plantar fasciopathy tends to develop as a result of repetitive stress to the plantar fascia, which can happen due to things like running and other physical activities. It is thought to account for around 10% of running-related injuries, but some studies suggest the prevalence in runners could be as high as 22%.

Certain people are at a higher risk of developing the condition, including:

  • Women
  • Those aged 40+
  • Those with reduced ankle mobility or calf muscle tightness
  • Those with a high BMI
  • Those with irregular foot mechanics, such as a reduced fat pad, an atypical walking pattern affecting weight distribution, high foot arches or low arches


What are the symptoms of plantar fasciopathy, and how can they affect your training?

Everyone will experience the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciopathy slightly differently, but for the most part it can cause: 

  • A dull ache or stabbing pain in the heel or along the bottom of the foot 
  • Pain that feels worse when taking the first few steps in the morning or after sitting down for a long period of time (as movement increases, discomfort may ease)
  • Tenderness or swelling 
  • Pain that gets better when exercising or moving around
  • Difficulty lifting toes off the ground due to pain
  • Pain in one or both feet (plantar fasciopathy mostly affects just one foot, but around 30% of patients report symptoms in both)

What is the recommended treatment for plantar fasciopathy?

If you choose to see a medical professional about your plantar fasciopathy, treatment for the condition can be recommended, which may include: 

  • Taping – Tape can help to reduce the stretching and moving of the ligaments, which can give plantar fasciopathy a chance to heal without further aggravation. 
  • Stretching – A routine of stretches can help to loosen muscles and reduce pain. 
  • Individualised education – With bespoke footwear recommendations and load management techniques that are relevant to your specific foot posture and symptoms, your plantar fasciopathy can heal faster. A podiatrist can offer you this personalised information. 
  • Shockwave therapy – Shown to be the most effective method of reducing pain and speeding up recovery, patients whose symptoms do not improve enough may be offered shockwave therapy and custom orthoses. 

man stretching fit feet and calf before going for a run


Can it heal on its own? 

Yes. You may not need to see a professional to get treatment for your plantar fasciopathy, as there is a lot you can do to help it from home. 

Untreated plantar fasciopathy can lead to more painful complications later, so although you may not need to see a medical professional, you should definitely do some of the recommended interventions (mentioned below) to ensure your plantar fasciopathy heals at home.  

You should never ignore pain from any foot condition, as this can stay the same or become worse over time. If you are in a lot of pain from plantar fasciopathy or are concerned it could be something more serious like a stress fracture, you should see a podiatrist or doctor for their treatment recommendations.  

How long does it take to heal?

This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions, as the length of healing time differs for everyone. Research suggests that with treatment, 80% of plantar fasciopathy patients see their symptoms improve within 12 months, however for many people, symptoms could improve within just a few months of home treatment. If you would like to see your GP or a podiatrist about pain from plantar fasciopathy, it is recommended you try home remedies first and see a medical professional if symptoms do not improve within 2 weeks.

Are there any ways to speed up the healing of plantar fasciopathy?

There are a few things that come doctor-recommended, but can be achieved at home to help speed up the healing of plantar fasciopathy. Here are a few things you can try if you are experiencing this condition:

  • Regular massages – You may be hesitant to do this if your foot is painful, but you can start with a gentler massage to increase blood flow without causing more pain to your foot, and increase pressure later as it eases. It may be best to do this when you first wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, if pain tends to be worse when taking your first steps of the day. Apply a small amount of moisturiser, and use the heel of your hand or your thumbs to knead the area, focusing on the plantar fascia. 
  • Apply ice – You can do this either by applying ice directly to the area (an ice pack covered in a cloth can be the most comfortable way to do this), or freeze a bottle of water and roll your foot along the bottle to reduce swelling and inflammation. With this method, you get the benefits of a foot massage at the same time - win win!  
  • Stretching – Regular stretching can also be very helpful for plantar fasciopathy, and you should focus on stretching the plantar fascia area and the Achilles tendon. If you would like specific stretches or more direction for this, a physiotherapist can recommend the best ones for you. 
  • Resting – Plantar fasciopathy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any weight on your foot, but making sure you get enough rest time in the day is important for healing. Plus, when the condition first starts you should consider at least a few days of rest to see if this makes a difference. 
  • Decrease your miles – If you regularly walk or run, you could try decreasing the distance you cover each day or week in order to reduce repetitive strain on your foot. You don’t have to stop exercising altogether; try switching to another type of workout instead, such as cycling or swimming. I know this is hard, but I have found that simply recognising I could still achieve my running goals via a detour (like a month on the bike or in the pool) helped me stay motivated and get behind this new direction. Remember, it's about the journey - and you never go the 'way' you thought you would, so embrace the change. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes – Providing the affected foot with arch support can help with healing, so try different shoes or orthotics to see if anything makes you more comfortable and eases the pain. 

women self massaging her foot with balm


What are the signs my plantar fasciopathy is healing?

Itching to know when it’s time to start using your foot normally again? This can be difficult with plantar fasciopathy as pain can sometimes come and go, but you can watch out for signs such as:

  • Reduced pain – Generally, pain is our body’s signal that something is wrong, so when pain starts to ease it is often a sign your plantar fasciopathy is healing. It’s important to keep in mind this isn’t always the case, so if your condition has been particularly bad, you may want to visit a doctor or podiatrist to confirm it’s OK to start returning to normal activities, even if the pain is going away.  
  • Daily activities become easier – Plantar fasciopathy can be frustrating as it can impact lots of your day-to-day activities and tasks. As pain and mobility issues subside you may find daily life becomes all-round easier, so pay attention to how much you are struggling with certain tasks.
  • Less swelling – Swelling is another visible sign that something isn’t as it should be, so if you experienced swelling or a tightness in your foot, and this starts to go down, your plantar fasciopathy could be healing. However, if there is still pain, less swelling does not mean the condition is completely gone so pay attention to the signals your body is giving you.  
  • Increased range of motion – As a result of less swelling and less pain, you may find it easier to move your foot around more without other parts of your body compensating for your foot condition. As your plantar fasciopathy heals, the rest of your body may feel more limber, and you can start to build up strength in the area again. 
  • Improved sleep – If you were struggling to sleep due to pain and discomfort from your plantar fasciopathy, you may start to notice your sleep improves which could indicate healing. 

When can I go back to ‘normal’?

Luckily with plantar fasciopathy, you shouldn’t need to stop exercising altogether, just reduce your training load a little and adjust activities that would put excessive stress on your foot. 

However, you may be wondering when you can start to gradually increase your training again, in which case the above indicators of healing can be immensely helpful for identifying when pain is easing and other symptoms are starting to get better. 

It can help to start measuring your pain levels when symptoms are occurring; you could do this first thing in the morning if your plantar fasciopathy is at its worst then. Track how the pain changes day to day (use a note book and a subjective feeling of pain, from 1-10), and if you notice this starting to reduce over time, you will know healing is happening and it’s time to gradually start increasing your activity again. 

Listen to your body, and be patient. If you're feeling better - you probably are, so you can lean back into training - slowly. 

Can I reduce the likelihood of developing plantar fasciopathy in future? 

Yes! We are BIG on reducing your chances of developing foot conditions at The Feets, because we know this is the best way to avoid taking time off from your training, goals and adventures. You can reduce your chances of developing plantar fasciopathy by avoiding any excessive strain on your feet, and factoring in plenty of rest time between training so your muscles have time to fully recover before your next workout. 

A few other preventative measures you can take include: 

  • Wearing cushioned footwear 
  • Increasing training gradually rather than adding significant miles all at once
  • Keeping your BMI within a healthy range
  • Increasing ankle mobility and calf strength
  • Doing regular preventative foot stretches 
  • Avoiding overuse of the same muscles with regular cross-training, such as swimming or cycling 
  • Avoiding walking or standing for prolonged periods of time
  • Avoiding wearing high heels, flip-flops or backless slippers

When should you see a professional?

If you have experienced pain from plantar fasciopathy for over 2 weeks without improvements after trying some of the above interventions, you may wish to speak to a physiotherapist or podiatrist who can potentially confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciopathy and recommend further treatments. 

Although plantar fasciopathy can often be tackled using at-home remedies and lifestyle tweaks, remember you should never ignore any little niggles causing pain and discomfort in your feet. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a specialist if you think you need to, and prioritise prevention with a short daily foot care routine so your feet are always in their best shape, and ready to carry you on the journey towards your goals. Healthy feet and lower limbs keep your gait optimal (ie you're not limping or compensating), which reduces biomechanical issues and the potential for injury. 

So my rule, train for longevity, have patience and listen to your body - oh, and have fun out there!!! 

Go get it. 


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warm bed, lace up the shoes that are starting to show the miles, and head out in the grey morning to clock a few Ks before work. We’ve been there, we are there, and we’ve got your back. Follow us on Instagram for stories, motivation, tips and tricks, or just to be part of the growing community of those wanting to make something of themselves.  

Written by: Logan Estop-Hall

Mountain man. Ultra-runner. Entrepreneur. Adventure sports do-er. Obsessive reader. Happy husband, proud father and passionate about helping people find health and happiness through sport, with a specific focus on lower limb health.

Medically Reviewed By: Matt Hart

Experienced sport and MSK podiatrist with a sport & exercise science background & MSc in clinical biomechanics. Working mainly in sport with athletes and football players both professional and non professional. Specialist interest in running footwear & their influence on performance.