What Causes Plantar Fasciitis to Flare Up?

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis to Flare Up?

Only people who suffer from plantar fasciitis can truly understand how much a heel flare up can impact their day. Most people find that the first step of the day or after they’ve been sitting down for a while comes with a sharp pain in the foot. 

No one should have to go through life with the constant worry of pain on their mind. So, what causes plantar fasciitis and what triggers should you avoid?

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Most cases of plantar fasciitis develop without a specific reason. But while the exact cause of your pain may be hard to identify, there are several risk factors and triggers that you can avoid to reduce the chance of developing it. 

A new exercise regime 

Exercise is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but starting a new exercise regime or activity can cause plantar fasciitis to flare up. It may just be a matter of getting used to a new way of moving or utilising muscles in a way you’re not used to but other times it could cause plantar fasciitis. 

Make sure to warm up properly and wear properly supportive shoes or orthotic inserts (like our Arch Support Insoles). If you can, avoid activities that require you to go barefoot.

When changing your exercise routine, it’s a good idea to talk to a physio first and to move into it slowly. If you experience severe pain that lasts two weeks or more, it’s recommended that you speak to a doctor. 

Changing the intensity of your exercise

Even activities you’re familiar with can cause issues if you change the intensity. 

Just like trying a new exercise, it might just be a matter of getting used to it, but it might also be that the new workload triggers your plantar fasciitis. Any change in intensity has the potential to add more strain to your feet that they can’t handle. 

If you are someone who does physical activity in bursts, you may be at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis. 

Weight gain 

Added weight is a common cause or contributor to plantar fasciitis. The weight could be fat, muscle or even from a healthy pregnancy. 

It doesn’t matter how the weight is gained, it will add strain to your feet and could either cause or trigger plantar fasciitis. The obvious solution is that losing weight can help you treat the condition. 

If losing weight is not possible, try to ensure that you rest and elevate your feet regularly. 

Tight calf muscles

Our calf muscles are connected directly to our feet and the ligaments and tendons inside, including the plantar fascia. 

If your calf muscles are too tight, they can put strain on the tendon which can result in plantar fasciitis. Stretching and strengthening the muscles in your calves can help relieve pressure from the ligaments and tendons in your foot and support your arch. 


Shoes that don’t provide support can be the cause of plantar fasciitis developing. 

There are several ways that your shoes could be contributing to or triggering your condition, regardless of whether the shoes are old or new. Common issues include shoes that are too flexible (and cause added strain to the plantar fascia), a lack of arch support or that they change your footfall due to different or worn padding. 

Try to avoid getting shoes that you need to break in, shoes should be comfortable when you first put them on. Otherwise, they may cause issues. 


It makes sense that an injury to your foot, and specifically your plantar fascia, can cause problems. 

Unfortunately, the body is far more complex and is connected in intricate ways. Sometimes injuries to the tendons of the leg or ankle can also affect the strain on your foot and may trigger ongoing pain. 

If you are injured, the best thing to do is to treat it immediately. Rest the affected area, ice it and elevate it. For more severe injuries, consult your GP or physio. 

Contributing factors 

Several other factors can make it more likely a person will develop plantar fasciitis. 

Plantar fasciitis is more common for: 

  • Women
  • People aged 40-60
  • People who are overweight
  • People with other foot or leg issues

How to treat plantar fasciitis

Luckily, treating plantar fasciitis can be done without much difficulty. Consulting your GP or physio is always a good idea, particularly if the pain is limiting your ability to do everyday activities. 

The two most effective ways to treat your plantar fasciitis are regular stretching and using orthotic inserts.


There are several stretches you can do to treat plantar fasciitis. They all revolve around either stretching the tendon to avoid it contracting or strengthening the muscles that may be causing the condition. These can include the muscles in your calf, ankle and foot. 

Orthotic inserts

Orthotic inserts like Lightfeet’s arch support insoles are a great way to reduce any strain on your feet. Pairing these with regular stretching can ensure that your feet are as healthy and happy as they can be.