3 of the Most Common Risk Factors of Plantar Fasciitis

Your plantar fascia is a thick cord that attaches your heel to your toes, and it absorbs the impact of standing, walking, and running. With too much pressure, though, this connective tissue can become inflamed and cause extreme pain when you walk or run.

The exact cause of plantar fasciitis — the term for inflammation of the plantar fascia — isn’t totally understood, but research points to three probabilities: poor ankle dorsiflexion, being overweight, and spending a lot of time on your feet.

At South Sound Food & Ankle in Olympia, Washington, we want to help your feet be as healthy as possible. Dr. Mark Hopkins carefully evaluates your feet and lifestyle to determine if you’re at risk. If so, he provides strategies to help prevent plantar fasciitis from developing. If you already have inflammation, he offers very real solutions to help your plantar fascia heal and relieve fasciitis pain.

Poor ankle dorsiflexion

Ankle dorsiflexion is the motion that helps you move your toes toward your shin. When you have poor dorsiflexion, your risk of developing plantar fasciitis is 23 times greater than that of people with normally functioning ankles.

Poor ankle dorsiflexion may result from tight calf muscles. A poorly healed ankle sprain, genetic propensity to poor dorsiflexion, ankle joint restriction due to scar tissue, or flexibility deficits due to another injury are all possible reasons for poor ankle dorsiflexion.

Dr. Hopkins can evaluate your ankles’ range of movement, offer physical therapy exercises, and suggest shoes or inserts to help improve your ankle’s function and prevent plantar fasciitis from developing or worsening.


If you’re carrying extra pounds, it puts a lot of pressure on your heel pad. This can lead to inflammation in the plantar fascia and the resulting pain. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, your risk of developing plantar fasciitis is almost six times greater than a person with a normal weight.

Dr. Hopkins offers recommendations to help you relieve pressure on the plantar fascia, including losing weight through diet and exercise. He can provide guidance as to activities that are less likely to aggravate your plantar fascia, such as swimming and biking, so you don’t develop the condition even when trying to prevent it.

Spending lots of time on your feet

People whose jobs keep them on their feet all day, such as retail workers or nurses, are prone to plantar fasciitis, too. These individuals are more than three times as likely to develop inflammation as compared to people who spend less time on their feet.

Dr. Hopkins helps you find just the right footwear to support your daily standing. Plus, he can recommend ways you can fit in rest periods to relieve plantar fasciitis pressure every day. Certain exercises and stretches can help as well.

Similarly, runners are especially prone to plantar fasciitis, especially if they increase their mileage or intensity rapidly, which can stress the plantar fascia. A gradual build-up in activity is less likely to cause fasciitis.

If you have any of the major risk factors for plantar fasciitis, call South Sound Foot & Ankle at 360-216-0740, or request an appointment online. If you have stabbing pain in your heel that’s especially prominent in the morning when you step out of bed or after activity, you may already have the inflammation and need intervention. Don’t suffer with heel pain — we can help.

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