Plantar Fasciitis is a common overuse injury. It is characterized by acute heel pain first thing in the morning or after rest.
The plantar fascia is a thick non-elastic band of fibrous tissue that runs along the sole of the foot from the base of each toe and attaches onto the heel bone known as the calcaneous. It’s function is to maintain the arch of the foot.
The problem begins when there is stress applied to the plantar fascia the fascia begins to pull away from the calcaneous causing microtears. This process causes inflammation which in turn produces pain. If left untreated, the constant pulling causes the body to react by filling in the space with new bone. This causes the classic “heel spur”. A heel spur is actually not the initial problem but becomes a result of plantar fasciitis
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
Heel pain, on the sole of the foot where the fascia attaches to the heel.
Pain is usually worse first thing in the morning as the fascia tightens up overnight. After a few minutes it eases as the foot gets warmed up
As the condition becomes worse, pain may be constant when in use
Common in sports involving running, dancing or jumping
Causes of Plantar Fascitis
Biomechanical issues of the foot ie: flat feet, over pronation, high arched rigid feet
Soft Terrain i.e running in sand
Toe Running, hill running
Rest—rest is the most important part of treatment. Continuing to put stress of the plantar fascia will continue to cause inflammation and aggravate the problem
Ice--Ice the heel for 15 minutes several times per day to help bring down the inflammation
Physiotherapy—physiotherapists will use modalities to bring down inflammation and control the pain. A biomechanical assessment of the foot will be completed to determine the possible cause and provide an exercise program to strengthen the weakened fascia to prevent further injury. The therapist may use athletic tape to maintain the arch and take the tension off the plantar fascia
Orthotics—Orthotics are custom molded by a chiropodist in order to support any biomechanical abnormalities and correct conditions such as “flat feet” or “fallen arches”
Proper Footwear—Supportive athletic shoes or walking shoes with extra heel cushioning and a rigid heel cup help to provide the support and balance necessary to assist in healing injured feet