When Plantar Fasciitis Is So Bad You Can't Walk (2023)

While some people find it extremely difficult to walk due to pain and inflammationplantar fasciitis, others are still able to walk with varying degrees of discomfort. Specific measures that have been found to be helpful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis include rest, ice therapy,suitable footwear, stretching exercises and physiotherapy.

This article is about short-term relief and long-term treatment for people with plantar fasciitis severe enough to prevent them from walking.

When Plantar Fasciitis Is So Bad You Can't Walk (1)

When is plantar fasciitis so severe that it prevents you from walking?

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by inflammation and discomfort of the plantar fascia, a large band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

This condition is often the result of repetitive stress and overuse of the foot, leading to microcracks and acute pain and discomfort. Typical symptoms are sharp or stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot, especially with the first steps in the morning or after long periods of rest.

pain location

Plantar fasciitis usually manifests as pain in the heel or arch of the foot. The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Localized pain on the sole of the foot, especially near the heel
  • Discomfort with the first steps after waking up in the morning or after a long period of rest, for example after a long drive. However, the pain disappears within a few minutes of walking.
  • Increased pain after physical activity (not during actual exertion)

Plantar fasciitis pain varies in severity. While some find it extremely difficult to walk due to pain and swelling, others can still walk with varying degrees of discomfort.

Factors that aggravate plantar fasciitis

Several factors can worsen the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, including:

  • wear and tearshoes or shoeswith insufficient arch support
  • Engage in activities that require repetitive loading of the foot, such as B. running or jumping
  • Walking or standing on hard surfaces for a long time
  • Weight gain or obesity that puts extra pressure on the feet
  • Tight muscles in the feet and calves

It is important to note that the perception of pain and its aggravating factors may vary from person to person.

First Things First: If You Can't Walk Due To Plantar Fasciitis

If you can't walk due to pain caused by plantar fasciitis, the first step is to see a doctor. They can accurately diagnose your condition and provide you with the appropriate advice and treatment options.

In the meantime, it's important to rest and not put weight on the affected foot to prevent further aggravation. To effectively relieve the initial pain of plantar fasciitis, consider the following steps:

  • Rest and avoid activities that make the pain worse.
  • Apply ice to the affected area for about 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. This helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Using a frozen water bottle for your foot is especially helpful.
  • Massage your foot with a massage gun or roll your foot on a small ball (such as a tennis or golf ball).
  • Take over the counter (OTC).Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Consult your doctor before starting any new medication, especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are taking other medications.

Short-term relief from severe plantar fasciitis

To speed up the healing process of the plantar fascia, it is beneficial to take the weight and pressure off the foot, even if only partially. Your doctor may suggest a combination of the following strategies:

  • Wear night splints, which keep your foot and calf in a stretched position while you sleep. This helps maintain proper alignment and can reduce morning pain and stiffness.
  • Wear shoes that support the arch of your foot, or experiment with heel cups or other orthotics to cushion your heel.
  • Corticosteroid injections for temporary pain relief.
  • Custom foot orthotics.
  • Apply athletic tape to your foot to support the muscles and ligaments.
  • Reduce the distance and duration of your walks or runs to minimize stress on the plantar fascia.
  • As an alternative to jumping or running, take light exercise like swimming or bicycling.

Shockwave therapy can also be effective in relieving pain and involves the application of low or high energy shock waves to the area. These shock waves cause tiny lesions and stimulate a healing response in the body. This process is believed to facilitate healing of the plantar fascia.

The good news is that many of the non-surgical treatments listed above can help reduce pain in about 90% of people in about three to six months.In some cases, it may take up to 18 months to two years of treatment before symptoms improve.

Long-term management of chronic plantar fasciitis

If symptoms persist despite six months of non-surgical therapy, minimally invasive treatments or surgery may be considered, such as:

  • Platelet Rich Plasma Injections and Therapeutic Ultrasound: Stimulates the body's healing response.
  • botulinum toxin injections: Chill out calf muscles and reduces stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Surgical treatments such as gastrocnemius recession and medial release of the gastrocnemius head: Reduces stress on the plantar fascia
  • Partial plantar fasciotomy: A surgical procedure that stimulates a healing response in the affected area.

Surgery is rarely necessary for plantar fasciitis, except in severe cases.Keep in mind that more invasive treatments may also have more side effects and risks. Always discuss the options with your doctor to choose the right solution for you.

stretching and physical therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your foot. This can help improve flexibility and reduce pain. Common exercises include calf stretches, toe curls, and towel curls.

There is evidence that working with a physical therapist helps with recovery from plantar fasciitis. The researchers analyzed a 2017 database of 819,963 people diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. They found that people who received manual therapy needed fewer visits and had lower health care costs, specifically $340 less. These results are consistent with previous studies indicating that people who undergo evidence-based physical therapy for foot pain tend to recover faster.

How to walk easier with plantar fasciitis

If you are unable to walk due to discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis, see your doctor immediately. They can accurately diagnose your condition and offer advice and treatment options that are right for you.

While waiting for medical consultation, it is important to prioritize rest and avoid putting weight on the affected foot. This approach will help prevent further aggravation and promote healing. Initial pain treatments may include over-the-counter pain relievers and ice application.

However, it is important to consult a doctor before using it, especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are currently taking other medications.


Plantar fasciitis can cause severe pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. But if you experience this, there is good news! There are many treatment options that can help you. The first step is to see your doctor so they can accurately diagnose your condition and provide further advice. In the meantime, it's important to rest and not put weight on the affected foot.

With proper care and treatment, you will be on the road to recovery, and recover quickly. Remember to be patient and take care of yourself during this healing process.

6 fuentes

Verywell Health uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourspublishing processto learn more about how we check the facts and make sure our content is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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  2. Medicina John Hopkins.plantar fasciitis.

  3. American family physician.plantar fasciitis.

  4. Schuitema D, Greve C, Postema K, Dekker R, Hijmans JM.Efficacy of mechanical treatment of plantar fasciitis: a systematic review.Sports Rehabilitation Magazine. 2019;29(5):657-674. doi:10.1123/jsr.2019-0036

  5. Latt LD, Jaffe DE, Tang Y, Taljanovic MS.Evaluation and treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis.foot and ankle orthopedics. 2020;5(1). doi:10.1177/2473011419896763

  6. Plantar Fasciitis: Will Physical Therapy Help My Foot Pain?J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017;47(2):56-56. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.0501

When Plantar Fasciitis Is So Bad You Can't Walk (2)

VonSarah Jividen, RN
Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a freelance health journalist and content marketing writer at Health Writing Solutions, LLC. She has over a decade of experience in direct patient care and is a registered nurse specializing in neurotrauma, stroke, and the emergency department.

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