What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. The Plantar Fascia is a broad, thick band of tissue that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot
It generally starts as a dull intermittent pain on the bottom of the heel and may progress to a sharp persistant pain. It tends to feel worse in the morning “First step pain”, stiff and/or sore at the beginning of activity. The pain may diminish or disappear only to return later. The pain is usually felt on the heel bone where the fascia begins, although it may be pain in the midsole or closer to the toes.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is very tight calf muscles which leads to prolonged and/or high velocity pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia leading to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it looses flexibility and strength.
Other causes include high arch or low arch feet and other biomechanical abnormalities including overpronation, which should be assessed by a podiatrist.
Excessive walking in footwear, which does not provide adequate arch support has been attributed to plantar fasciitis. In addition, overweight individuals are more at risk of developing the condition due to the excess weight impacting on the foot with an increase in activity.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Treated ?
- Rest until it is not painful. By walking on the painful foot you are continually aggravating the injury and increasing inflammation. Rest as muchas possible and stop any unnecessaryactivities, which place additional stress on the fascia.
- Apply ice or cold therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation. Cold therapy can be applied regularly until symptoms have resolved, this can be done by rolling a cold waterbottle under the arch of your foot.
- Massage either by hand or with golf ball, tennis ball, water bottle or Pediroller.
What a Podiatrist can do?
- Perform a biomechanical gait analysis to determine if you over-pronate or over-supinate.
- Tape the foot and instruct the patient how to tape the foot. This is an excellent way of allowing the foot to rest.
- Prescribe orthotics which can restore normal foot biomechanics.
- Determine if a night splint is suitable.
- Prescribe appropriate stretches.
- Discuss suitable footwear.
WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following a personal consultation with a Podiatrist.