What is Plantar Fasciitis?
- The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot and assists with propulsion of the foot when walking.
- Plantar fasciitis is often caused by pulling of the plantar fascia at its insertion point at the calcaneus (heel bone) and developing micro tears. The pain can also extend to the side of the heel and the arch of the foot.
- Plantar fasciitis can be hard to treat if chronic, so don’t delay in making an appointment with Local PodiatryTM.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Heel pain with the first few steps in the morning getting out of bed.
- Pain upon rising after sitting for long periods.
- Consistent heel pain with standing and walking.
- Pain after exercise.
- Pain is described as sharp, a stone bruise feeling, throbbing, burning, and aching.
- Pain can be at night even when resting.
- X-rays may show a heel spur.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Increased pronation of the feet (feet rolling in when running, jumping, walking).
- Flat feet and High arched feet.
- Direct impact injury.
- Tight calf muscles and plantar fascia.
- Increased training load, eg. running.
- Loss of cushioning under the heel (fat pad atrophy).
- Being overweight or pregnant increases the strain and stress placed onto the plantar fascia.
- Having a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.
- Footwear with poor support and stability.
- Wearing high heels.
- Some types of inflammatory arthritis can cause inflammation in the tendons in the bottom of your foot.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
- Plantar fasciitis is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms, history and clinical examination.
- X-rays may show calcification within the plantar fascia or at its insertion into the calcaneus, known as a heel spur.
- Ultrasound scans and MRI are referred to identify any plantar fasciitis tears, inflammation or calcification.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
- Apply ice onto the heel area for about 5-10 mins after activity.
- Rest or reduce activities.
- Prescription CAD/CAM foot orthotics to correct poor foot biomechanics.
- Wear more supportive and suitable footwear for sport and/or work.
- Massaging the foot with a massage ball rolled under the foot before rising will increase blood flow to the area and release adhesions between the collagen, therefore causing less damage to the heel and plantar fascia when walking.
- Daily stretching exercises as advised by your podiatrist.
- Referral to GP or Sports Doctor for possible cortisone-steroid injections and/or if surgery required.