What Causes Plantar Fasciitis to Flare Up?

There are several things that cause your plantar fasciitis to flare up. These include injury to the legs, heels, or foot, old or new unsupportive shoes, tight calf muscles, weight gain, changes in activities’ intensity levels, and new fitness activities. 

There is nothing more frustrating when you start to experience chronic heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. So, it is critical to know what causes plantar fasciitis to flare up.

In this article, we will explain how those things cause plantar fasciitis to flare up. 

What are the things to do in preventing plantar fasciitis flare up? (What Causes Plantar Fasciitis to Flare Up)

Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain, and it takes a long time to heal, sometimes up to 15 to 18 months.

The best way to prevent this condition from flaring up is to follow the treatment instruction provided by your doctor. You also need to keep up with the regular remedies.

Meanwhile, here are the things you should avoid to ensure your feet remain pain-free and the condition will not flare up:

1. Injury to the Legs, Heels, or Foot

Most people only know that trauma, strains, or injuries to the plantar fascia ligaments cause heel pain flair-ups.

However, they do not know that an injury to the tendons in the foot, leg, or ankle can also trigger a plantar fasciitis flare-up.

Several studies reported that injury or tightness in the Achilles tendon is correlated to the plantar fascia’s function. Injuries to the leg, heel, or foot can be due to intense exercise, playing sports, tripping, or stepping on uneven objects or surfaces.

2. Old Shoes

Old Shoes

Wearing old shoes can cause a flare-up. If you notice noticeable wear on the bottom thread or insoles, it is probably to replace them. Ideally, you have to check the shoes’ integrity every few months and toss them out when needed.

Are you engaged in high-impact exercises like basketball or jogging? Do you spend lots of time on your feet at work? If you spend more on shoes, the more quickly they wear out.

3. New Shoes

While old shoes can trigger heel pain to flare up, wearing new shoes also poses a risk. That is especially true if the shoes do not provide the proper support.

Increased tension to the plantar fascia ligament can be due to too-flexible shoes. Uneven padding distribution can alter your footstrike while walking or jogging. Only purchase shoes that provide instant comfort.

If you need shoes with added arch support, you might like to check out our top 6 picks for the best running shoes with high arches.

4. Tight Calf Muscles

Tight Calf Muscles

The muscles, especially soleus and gastrocnemius muscles, in the calves are directly connected with ligaments and tendons in the foot. 

It is recommended to stretch out the muscles in the calves to improve plantar fasciitis. As you improve the range of motion and strength in these muscles, it supports and stabilizes your arch.

5. Weight Gain 

Even if it is a healthy weight gain, it can still contribute to flaring up. Whether you gain a healthy weight, muscle mass, or body fat, an extra pound increases strain on the feet. 

study shows that 90 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis who have undergone bariatric surgery to lose significant weight have recovered from the condition. 

6. Changes in Activities Intensity Levels 

Any change in your activity or workout intensity can trigger heel pain. Power walking when you normally walk in a leisure manner or sprinting when you usually jog puts extra strain on the feet. 

Do you spend most of your days working sedentarily and then load your weekends with a lot of physical activities? If so, you are more susceptible to plantar fasciitis flare-ups and injuries.

7. New Fitness Activities 

Starting new activities may also trigger your heel pain. If you have to try new workouts, ensure to warm up thoroughly, wear supportive footwear, and learn the proper form. 

It is advisable to avoid activities where you need to remove footwear, like some dance classes and martial arts. Exercises that are jarring to your feet are not also recommended.

What does pain cause by plantar fasciitis feel like?

In most cases, pain associated with plantar fasciitis feels like:

  • It is usually located in the arch’s inner part, where the heel bone is attached to the plantar fascia.
  • It is often NOT associated with needles, pins, tingling, or numbness.
  • There is swelling or puffiness in the arch’s inner area but no swelling on top of the foot or around the ankle.
  • It usually does not hurt while lying in bed or sleeping.
  • The most painful feeling is during the first few steps after waking up.
  • The foot is very painful and stiff after sitting still for extended periods and starting to walk.
  • The discomfort with walking, jogging, or running depends on how aggravated the plantar fascia is.

Is stretching out helpful to prevent plantar fasciitis flare-ups?

The plantar fascia plays a vital role in supporting your arches and absorbing shocks with each step you take. Once this hard-working tissue develops tiny tears, it results in tightening and inflammation in the tissue. So, you may experience pain in every step after a period without activities.

To keep plantar fascia healthy, you can make a gentle stretching part of your everyday routine. All you need to do is:

  • Grab the toes.
  • Pull them towards you to stretch the tissue but not too hard.
  • Stand facing a wall.
  • Place the foot on the ground behind you.
  • Stretch the calves and plantar fascia.

Note that you should not bounce when stretching. Instead, you have to hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each foot.

Do you want to know What Cardio Exercises Can I Do with Plantar Fasciitis, then read out this complete guide.


Even if you have successfully treated your heel pain, perhaps after daily stretching, resting, and clinically proven medications, you still need to avoid things that can trigger the pain. We hope this guide has been helpful to you in handling plantar fasciitis and preventing it from flaring up.  If you wish to learn more about stretching to relieve pain, feel free to read our post about plantar fasciitis stretches.

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