MRI of the heel showing inflammation at the heel attachment of the plantar fascia

Anatomy of the plantar fascia

PLANTAR FASCIITIS (pronounced as plantar fash-shee-eye-tis)

This is a very common cause of heel pain. It occurs when the long fibrous ligament called the plantar fascia tears and leads to inflammation at its attachment to the heel. The plantar fasia spans from the heel of the foot all the way to the toes. It acts like a bowstring to help maintain the arch of the foot. It stretches with every step that an individual takes. With strenuous and repeated activity, it may tear and lead to inflammation.


The most common complaint is that of stabbing, burning or aching pain at the heel and may extend into the mid part of the arch of the foot. Most sufferers will experience the pain first thing in the morning when putting the foot down off the bed. This is because the plantar fascia tightens over night. Thus when applying pressure first thing in the morning, it becomes taut and pain is very acute. The pain usually wears off as the plantar fascia stretches but easily recurs.

Since it is difficult to rest the foot, the condition gradually becomes worse because it is agravated by weight bearing.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition the usually subsides spontaneously in 95 per cent of individuals after a period of 12 to 18 months. However it is difficult to predict how long the symptoms will last for each individual. The diagnosis is made clinically and can be confirmed by Ultrasound or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).



There are so many modalities of treatment for plantar fasciitis but no actual cure for it. Therefore treatment options are aimed at alleviating symptoms whilst the condition resolves spontaneously.

The KUALA LUMPUR FOOT ANKLE CLINIC (KLFAC) offers an integrated approach to the treatment of plantar fasciitis. We can therefore select the treatment of combination of treatments that best suits the individual.

We offer the full range of treatment for plantar fasciitis including physiotherapy, ultrasound guided injections, orthoses and taping.


In a very small number of individuals, surgery may be considered if the symptoms of pain persist after a period of 12 months. The operation involves releasing the plantar fascia and a small nerve which can be trapped and leads to the symptoms of a burning sensation.

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