How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Last?

16 November, 2020
Plantar fasciitis can become chronic, limiting the life of the sufferer. However, if you’re given prompt treatment, it can get better in a short time. How long does it last?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the foot fascia. Specifically, it’s one of the most common causes of heel pain. While it’s more common in athletes, it can affect anyone.

In fact, as a publication in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine states, there are 2 million patients in the United States with this condition. In turn, it’s the cause of 1 million visits to doctors in primary care. How is it treated? How long can it last?

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused by the degenerative irritation of the foot fascia. The latter is a band of connective tissue that runs from the calcaneus – a bone in the heel – to the tips of the bones that make up the toes.

This structure has a very important function when walking. It takes care of absorbing energy from the stride to prevent the metatarsals (the bones that form the toes) from flexing inappropriately. It also maintains the shape of the plantar arch, which gives stability and balance to the body.

Studies suggest that up to 10% of the population will have this condition at some point in their lives. However, it’s common in athletes. This is because their fascias are more subject to overexertion and burden. Other risk groups include the following:

  • People with hollow and flat feet
  • Women who wear very high heels
  • People who are overweight and obese
  • Factory workers or workers who stand for a long time
A foot massage.
Inflammation of the foot fascia results in plantar fasciitis. A frequent injury in athletes.

What are the symptoms?

The predominant symptom is pain. This isn’t going to be the same intensity or located in the same place in all people. Often, the pain is located on the inside of the ankle. This point coincides with the insertion of the fascia into the calcaneus bone.

This pain is usually much more acute when taking the first steps after getting up. This occurs because during the night, with rest, the fascia is shortened and, consequently, in the morning, it’s more strained.

Throughout the day, with activity, the pain becomes more bearable by the stretching of the fascia. Finally, if during the day, you overdo it with excess activity, at the end of the day the pain will be more intense. In long-lasting fasciitis, this pain becomes continuous and latent throughout the day.

This may interest you: Why you need to get regular physical exercise

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis will be based on the person’s medical history and a physical examination by a specialist physician. Treating plantar fasciitis will be carried out in several ways. Some of the most important are:

  • In the acute phases of pain, anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed. The specialist will decide the most appropriate type and dose of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Sessions with different therapeutic techniques. Depending on the severity of the injury, and the person affected, the physical therapist will establish the sessions.
  • Wearing suitable footwear, both daily and during exercise.
  • Maintaining an acceptable weight.
  • The correct muscular and fascial stretch after exercise.
  • Using adapted insoles, in cases where the cause of fasciitis is the natural form of the foot.

Perhaps you’ll find this interesting: How to improve poor circulation in your legs

How long does plantar fasciitis last?

The duration of this injury may vary from person to person. In some cases, it may last a few weeks or even a few months. However, there are other occasions when the injury becomes chronic.

The pain becomes almost constant and can make a person’s quality of life much worse by limiting their daily activity. When the injury becomes chronic, it can affect the knees, including the hip and back, by destabilizing the normal gait.

Therefore, it’s important to go to the specialist as soon as you notice the first symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly reduces the risk of complications.

A person attending physiotherapy.
Plantar fasciitis may be complicated if you’re not given adequate treatment. Therefore, it’s important to see a doctor for the first symptoms.

What to remember about plantar fasciitis?

Heel pain may be the clinical manifestation of plantar fasciitis. Although it’s often temporary and mild, in certain cases it’s chronic and can affect quality of life. Therefore, it’s best to see a doctor whenever the injury is suspected. Timely treatment is crucial to reducing the duration of treatment.

  • Young, C. (2012). Plantar Fasciitis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(1_Part_1), ITC1. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-156-1-201201030-01001
  • Gerardo, L., Carrillo, D., Leos Zierold, H., Gregorio, J., & Aguilar, A. (2007). Rehabilitación de fascitis plantar crónica. In Acta Médica Grupo Ángeles (Vol. 5, Issue 1). Medigraphic.
    Jiménez Leal, R. (2010). TRATAMIENTO DE LA FASCITIS PLANTAR. In Revista Española 110 de Podología: Vol. XXI (Issue 3).
  • Lim AT, How CH, Tan B. Management of plantar fasciitis in the outpatient setting. Singapore Med J. 2016;57(4):168-171. doi:10.11622/smedj.2016069
  • Fascitis plantar. (n.d.). Retrieved July 3, 2020, from http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-31942015000200005
  • Hansen L, Krogh TP, Ellingsen T, Bolvig L, Fredberg U. Long-Term Prognosis of Plantar Fasciitis: A 5- to 15-Year Follow-up Study of 174 Patients With Ultrasound Examination. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018;6(3):2325967118757983. Published 2018 Mar 6. doi:10.1177/2325967118757983