Woman massaging plantar fasciitis flare up

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis to Flare up & How to Stop It

- Cloud Massage Brand Team

Woman massaging Plantar Fasciitis flare up

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you’re not alone. This painful condition affects millions of people in the US every year. Thankfully, because it is a common occurrence, a lot is known about causes, treatment, and prevention. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the triggers for plantar fasciitis and how you can eliminate or reduce them. 

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Before we dive into causes and prevention, we need to really understand what plantar fasciitis is and how it works. If you describe how plantar fasciitis feels, it would be a pain in the bottom of the heel. The name for it comes from the ligament that is affected, the plantar fascia. The Healthline describes it as a shock absorber that also supports the arch of your foot. When the ligament becomes inflamed, it causes heel or foot arch pain, stiffness, and can make it difficult to climb stairs. The pain can be categorized as either dull or sharp, and can affect either one or both feet. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that develops gradually over time, and most commonly affects active men or women between the ages of 40 and 70.

What Causes A Plantar Fasciitis Flare Up?

There are many reasons why someone might develop plantar fasciitis. Those who spend a lot of time on their feet, or who put a lot of weight on their heels, experience plantar fasciitis the most. Some of those most commonly affected are:

  • Pregnant women

  • Someone overweight or obese

  • Long-distance runners

  • Factory or restaurant employees

  • Someone with structural foot problems, such as high arches or flat feet

Sometimes a tight achilles tendon or the wearing of unsupportive, soft-soled shoes can cause plantar fasciitis. Thankfully, it is not necessarily a lifelong condition. Most flare-ups can be reduced with home remedies, but occasionally professional medical advice is needed. If this is your first time experiencing such pain, a doctor’s examination can determine if it is plantar fasciitis or another issue. 

Plantar fasciitis can be treated and the ligament healed, but you should always be careful of things that can cause the pain to return. Below we’ll look at what causes plantar fasciitis to flare up:

1. Standing 

Standing or walking for a long period of time can cause a flare-up due to prolonged pressure on the ligament. That pressure causes damage to the ligament, making it inflamed and painful.

2. Tight Calves 

The muscles in your calves are directly connected to those in your feet. If the muscles are tight, they can cause extra tension on the plantar fascia, causing the pain to flare up. 

3. Activity 

Starting or increasing the intensity of a fitness activity can trigger a flare-up of plantar fasciitis. If you’ve started a new routine, be on the lookout to see which exercises could be impacting your feet. 

4. Weight Gain

Any sudden weight gain, either due to pregnancy or gaining body fat and muscle, can cause a recurrence of the inflammation. This is because of increased weight and strain being put on the ligament.

5. Footwear

There are three ways that footwear can impact plantar fasciitis flare-ups. Wearing old shoes that have lost support, wearing new shoes, or wearing shoes that have soft soles or no support. The lack of support, or modification to how you walk, can increase tension in the ligament and result in the heel and foot arch pain.

Tips for Preventing Plantar Fasciitis Flare-Ups

If you’re wondering how long a plantar fasciitis flare-up lasts, there’s some good news. According to the Mayo Clinic, recovery within several months is common when using conservative treatment. 

  • Rest, stretching, over-the-counter pain relievers and inflammation reducers can all easily contribute to recovery. 
  • Physical therapy, orthotics such as arch supports, or the temporary use of crutches can be treatment methods in the more severe cases.
  • Surgery or steroid injections are usually only attempted if other treatments are not improving the symptoms. Please consult with a medical professional if you have questions about the right treatment plan for your particular pain.
When looking at the causes of plantar fasciitis flare ups, it’s clear to see some of the things you can do to prevent them.


If you have to stand or walk for long periods, taking regular breaks to take the weight off your feet can be beneficial. Elevating your feet, or doing simple foot stretches can help to ease any potential discomfort and inflammation. 

Stretches & Massage

Stretching your calves and the plantar fascia can loosen the muscles and ligaments, preventing any tension or damage. Combining these stretches with massage can be particularly effective at decreasing the likelihood of a flare-up. Our hands-free Shiatsu Foot & Leg Massager Machine can provide relief to pain and tightness in the calves and feet. The versatile setup makes it easy to take care of both of these areas. The massage, vibration, and heat setting can combine to provide relief from a current flare-up. Ongoing use can help prevent future instances, too. For a more intense and total body massage, our Premium Percussion Massage Gun provides a deep tissue massage that you can use to reduce discomfort. Read more on the benefits of a foot massager for plantar fasciitis here.

Warm Up 

Always warm up and cool down before any exercise. When your muscles are warm, they are less prone to strains, tears, or other damage resulting from movement. This is especially important for running or other high impact sports. 

Try Different Exercises

Low impact sports such as swimming or cycling can be good alternatives to running, especially if you are experiencing repeated flare-ups. If you notice a lot of pain during or after particular exercises, it could be worth working with a professional coach to establish the most effective and safe types of exercise. 

Bottom Line

Walking without pain or discomfort should never be taken for granted. Taking small, figurative steps towards great foot health will have you taking big, literal steps in no time.