Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) Treatments

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this ligament gets over stressed, damaged and inflamed.


Some common causes of heel pain / plantar fasciitis include, but not limited to:

  • Weight gain
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Abnormal (gait) walking pattern
  • Improper or ill-fitting shoes
  • High impact activities (i.e. repetitive jumping, certain sports like tennis, basketball and certain exercise programs)
  • Tight calf muscles and achilles tendon


The heel can be painful, red, and/or swollen. The first steps out of bed or after a period of prolonged rest are very painful. Sometimes it is described as a sharp, knife-like pain in the heel with that first step in the morning. The pain improves but does not go away after those first few steps. At the end of the day, after prolonged standing or walking, the pain can get worse. This can occur in one foot or both feet.



  • X-Rays are taken to evaluate the heel bone for a spur and to rule out other pathology such as fractures.
  • Ultrasound can be used as needed to assess the thickness of the plantar fascia and assess for any plantar fascia tears.
  • Clinical examination will be done to assess the heel, foot, and also the achilles tendon which plays a significant role in the inflammation of the plantar fascia.
  • Gait exam to evaluate and address the underlying biomechanical problems.


  • Strapping
  • Stretching
  • Corticosteroid injection(s)
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication
  • Shoe gear change/modifications
  • Custom Orthotics
  • Night Splints
  • Immobilization with a cast or a walking cast boot
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT / EPAT)
  • Physical Therapy

Plantar Fasciitis can become a chronic condition if not treated. It is important to seek care when the problem first appears and to address the underlying cause rather than waiting for it to become worse.

Heel Pain in Children

As children go through “growth spurts” between the age of 11 and 14, the muscles and tendons in their legs can become tight as they try to keep up with the rapid growth in the long bones. Heel pain in children typically is the result of a tight Achilles tendon.

In children, there is a thin irregular shaped band of cartilage in the back portion of the heel bone called a growth plate (see x-ray image below). As the name implies, new bone forms within a growth plate, which is also found in other bones in the feet, legs, hands and arms.

As a child goes through a "growth spurt," the rapidly elongating leg bones stretch the Achilles tendon which in turn pulls tighter on its insertion into the heel bone. A tight tendon is usually not a problem. However, when a child is very active in sports, such as soccer, or basketball, the increased activity creates further tightening of the tendon. The result is a traction or pulling force which is absorbed into the heel bone (see illustration, below).

As cartilage is softer than bone, the growth plate frequently becomes irritated and painful as the traction force increases. This process is more commonly seen between the age of 8 and 13 years old.

On examination, one can reproduce pain by pressing both under the heel as well as compressing the heel bone (calcaneus) from side to side. Other causes of heel pain include a fracture or bone tumor, so x-rays are usually performed in evaluating this condition.

Treatment includes rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication. An arch support and heel lift are both helpful. For severe cases, a non-weight bearing splint or cast may be applied. Long term treatment usually includes use of functional foot orthotics. The problem is self-limiting and goes away after the growth plate closes, around the age of 13 to 14 years old.

FASMA Doctors Performing This Specialty / Service

Dr. Ian Beiser

Washington, DC (19th Street)
Dr. Jason Birkel

Hampton, VA Newport News, VA
Dr. Man Cho

Reston, VA
Dr. Randall Contento

Dr. Elizabeth Daughtry

Cary, NC Dunn, NC
Dr. Louis DeFazio

Clarksville, MD
Dr. Reema Dua

Rockville, MD (North Bethesda)
Dr. Mohammad Esmaili

Kensington, MD
Dr. Brian Futrell

Apex, NC Cary, NC
Dr. Adam Grahn

Greencastle, PA Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Brandy Grahn

Gettysburg, PA Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Allan Grossman

Harrisburg, PA
Dr. Richard Hauser

Cary, NC
Dr. Joel Kelly

Apex, NC Benson, NC
Dr. David Kirlin

Dr. Michelle Le

Rockville, MD (North Bethesda)
Dr. Enzo J. Leone

Pasadena, MD
Podiatrist in Columbia, MD Dr. Andrew Liss

Columbia, MD Kensington, MD
Podiatrist Dr. Eric Masternick DPM Dr. Eric Masternick

Reston, VA
Dr. Ryan Meredith

Dr. Alexander Mount

Richmond, VA
Dr. Jenny Nguyen

Pasadena, MD
Dr. Jason Nolan

Cary, NC
Dr. Jacob Panici

Cary, NC Dunn, NC
Dr. Robert Pica

Richmond, VA
Dr. Mark Quist

Huntersville, NC
Dr. Matthew Rien

Harrisburg, PA
Dr. Mark Roemer

Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Betsy F. Rosenthal

Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Seth Rubenstein

Reston, VA
Podiatrist Dr. Gina M. Saffo DPM Dr. Gina M. Saffo

Annapolis, MD Greenbelt, MD
Dr. Wagner Santiago

Dr. Sagar Shah

Colonial Heights, VA Richmond, VA
Dr. Urja Shah, DPM Dr. Urja Shah

Annapolis, MD Greenbelt, MD
Dr. Derek Slovak

Mountain Island, NC
Dr. Gregory Smith

Gettysburg, PA Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Mitchell Waskin

Richmond, VA
Dr. Daniel Yarmel

Harrisburg, PA Newport, PA


  1. Silver Spring, MD (Fenton)
    8630 Fenton Street Suite 1
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Phone: 301-587-5666
    Fax: 301-589-4479

  2. Washington, DC (1775 K Street)
    1775 K Street NW Suite 580
    Washington, DC 20006
    Phone: 202-331-9727
    Fax: 202-887-0741

  3. Chapel Hill, NC
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    Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    Phone: 919-960-8858
    Fax: 919-960-2882

  4. Charlottesville, VA (Abbey Road)
    2050 Abbey Road Suite C
    Charlottesville, VA 22911
    Phone: 434-295-4443
    Fax: 434-295-8598

  5. Culpeper, VA
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    Culpeper, VA 22701
    Phone: 540-825-6113
    Fax: 540-825-4937

  6. Washington, DC (19th Street)
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    Washington, DC 20036
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    Fax: 202-833-5762

  7. Clarksville, MD
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    Clarksville, MD 21029
    Phone: 443-535-8770
    Fax: 443-535-8775

  8. Mt Airy, MD (South)
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    Mt Airy, MD 21771
    Phone: 301-829-2244
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  9. Frederick, MD (Thomas Johnson Drive)
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    Frederick, MD 21702
    Phone: 301-696-0818
    Fax: 301-696-8872

  10. Hampton, VA
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    Hampton, VA 23666
    Phone: 757-896-8800
    Fax: 757-896-8832

  11. Newport News, VA
    754 McGuire Place
    Newport News, VA 23601
    Phone: 757-599-5710
    Fax: 757-591-0552

  12. Holly Springs, NC
    1004 Werrington Drive, Ste. 300
    Holly Springs, NC 27540
    Phone: 919-850-9111
    Fax: 919-850-2499

  13. Raleigh, NC (Millbrook)
    1418 E. Millbrook Road
    Raleigh, NC 27609
    Phone: 919-850-9111
    Fax: 919-850-2499

  14. South Park, NC
    6831 Fairview Road A
    Charlotte, NC 28210
    Phone: 704-376-3947
    Fax: 704-376-9487

  15. Rockville, MD (Shady Grove Rd)
    15215 Shady Grove Rd Suite 307
    Rockville, MD 20850
    Phone: 240-268-7450
    Fax: 301-949-8833

  16. Wheaton, MD
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    Wheaton, MD 20902
    Phone: 301-949-3668
    Fax: 301-949-8833

  17. Charlottesville, VA (Rio East Ct)
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    Charlottesville, VA 22901
    Phone: 434-979-8116
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  18. Fishersville, VA
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    Fishersville, VA 22939
    Phone: 540-949-5150
    Fax: 540-932-8535

  19. Reston, VA
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    Reston, VA 20190
    Phone: 703-391-0211
    Fax: 703-880-1192

  20. Gastonia
    251 Wilmot Dr
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    Phone: 704-861-0425
    Fax: 704-861-0274

  21. Cary, NC
    103 Parkway Office Court Suite 100
    Cary, NC 27518
    Phone: 919-481-3338
    Fax: 919-467-2436

  22. Dunn, NC
    700 Tilghman Drive Suite 722
    Dunn, NC 28334
    Phone: 910-892-3338
    Fax: 910-892-2706

  23. Henderson, NC
    451 Ruin Creek Road Suite 202
    Henderson, NC 27536
    Phone: (252) 438-4426
    Fax: (252) 430-1709

  24. Raleigh, NC (Dresser)
    1004 Dresser Ct Suite 102
    Raleigh, NC 27609
    Phone: (919) 872-2022
    Fax: (919) 872-2087

  25. Rockville, MD (North Bethesda)
    11801 Rockville Pike Suite 105
    Rockville, MD 20852
    Phone: 301-881-6222
    Fax: 301-881-1639

  26. Kensington, MD
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    Kensington, MD 20895
    Phone: 301-949-2000
    Fax: 301-949-2002

  27. Chevy Chase, MD
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    Chevy Chase, MD 20815
    Phone: 301-913-5225
    Fax: 301-913-9145

  28. Washington, DC (2021 K Street)
    2021 K Street NW Suite 520
    Washington, DC 20006
    Phone: 202-223-4616
    Fax: 202-223-0740

  29. Silver Spring, MD (International Drive)
    3801 International Drive Suite 204
    Silver Spring, MD 20906
    Phone: 301-598-0130
    Fax: 301-598-5091

  30. Apex, NC
    1001 Pemberton Hill Road Suite 102
    Apex, NC 27502
    Phone: 919-363-3310
    Fax: 919-363-3370

  31. Concord, NC
    492 Copperfield Blvd NE
    Concord, NC 28025
    Phone: 704-788-9797
    Fax: 704-788-6830

  32. University, NC
    8310 Medical Plaza Drive Suite E
    Charlotte, NC 28262
    Phone: 704-548-0222
    Fax: 704-548-1157

  33. Ballantyne, NC
    9216 Ardrey Kell Road Suite 100
    Charlotte, NC 28277
    Phone: 704-544-6517
    Fax: 704-544-2988

  34. Frederick, MD (Solarex Ct)
    604 Solarex Court Suite 103
    Frederick, MD 21703
    Phone: 301-698-9260
    Fax: 301-698-8962

  35. Greencastle, PA
    50 Eastern Ave Suite 122
    Greencastle, PA 17225
    Phone: 717-643-0795
    Fax: 717-643-0833

  36. Hagerstown, MD
    11110 Medical Campus Road Suite 100
    Hagerstown, MD 21742
    Phone: 301-739-1575
    Fax: 301-739-1578

  37. Gettysburg, PA
    506 W. Middle Street
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    Phone: 717-778-3338
    Fax: 717-778-3340

  38. Harrisburg, PA
    4033 Linglestown Road Suite 1
    Harrisburg, PA 17112
    Phone: 717-651-0000

  39. Huntersville, NC
    16419 Northcross Dr Suite A
    Huntersville, NC 28078
    Phone: 704-987-9585

  40. Mooresville, NC
    206 Joe Knox Avenue Suite D
    Mooresville, NC 28117
    Phone: 704-235-0474
    Fax: 704-660-3987

  41. McConnellsburg, PA
    214 Peach Orchard Road
    McConnellsburg, PA 17233
    Phone: 301-739-1575
    Fax: 301-739-1578

  42. Charlotte, NC (Myers Park)
    717 S. Torrence St.
    Charlotte, NC 28204
    Phone: 704-334-8682

  43. Charlotte, NC (South Charlotte)
    10370 Park Rd. #100
    Charlotte, NC 28210
    Phone: 704-542-8253

  44. Silver Spring, MD (MedStar-Leisure World)
    3305 N Leisure World Blvd.
    Silver Spring, MD 20906
    Phone: 301-598-0130
    Fax: 301-598-5091

  45. Benson, NC
    1 Medical Drive
    Benson, NC 27504
    Phone: 919-363-3310
    Fax: 919-363-3370

  46. Pasadena, MD
    8155 Ritchie Highway Suite B
    Pasadena, MD 21122
    Phone: 410-768-5800
    Fax: 410-768-5806

  47. Harrisburg, NC
    3800 Highway 49 South
    Harrisburg, NC 28075
    Phone: 704-455-2999
    Fax: 704-455-1624

  48. Columbia, MD
    11055 Little Patuxent Pkwy Suite 204
    Columbia, MD 21044
    Phone: 410-730-2623
    Fax: 410-992-4779

  49. Annapolis, MD
    129 Lubrano Drive Suite 303
    Annapolis, MD 21401
    Phone: 410-266-7575
    Fax: 410-266-7366

  50. Silver Spring, MD (White Oak)
    2415 Musgrove Road Suite 103
    Silver Spring, MD 20904
    Phone: 301-384-6500
    Fax: 301-384-6670

  51. Richmond, VA
    1465 Johnston Willis Drive
    Richmond, VA 23235
    Phone: 804-320-3668
    Fax: 804-320-2600

  52. Carrollton, VA
    13609 Carrollton Boulevard Suite 11
    Carrollton, VA 23314
    Phone: 757-238-9600
    Fax: 757-238-8750

  53. Greenbelt, MD
    7501 Greenway Center Dr Suite 810
    Greenbelt, MD 20770
    Phone: 301-577-4464
    Fax: 301-577-4702

  54. Orange, VA
    175-C Spicers Mill Road
    Orange, VA 22960
    Phone: 540-672-1402
    Fax: 540-825-4937

  55. Colonial Heights, VA
    4730 Puddledock Rd.
    Prince George, VA 23875
    Phone: 804-320-3668

  56. Mountain Island, NC
    10310 Couloak Drive Suite 200
    Charlotte, NC 28216
    Phone: 704-971-4000
    Fax: 704-971-2379

  57. Mechanicsburg, PA
    2025 Technology Parkway Suite 201
    Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
    Phone: 717-651-0000

  58. Newport, PA
    300 Bretz Ct
    Newport, PA 17074
    Phone: 717-651-0000