Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain or pain in the arch of your foot. During walking or running tension is placed through the plantar fascia. When this tension is too repetitive or forceful, damage to the plantar fascia can occur. This may occur traumatically or more commonly due to gradual wear and tear associated with overuse.
What is plantar fasciitis?
It is a condition characterised by damage and inflammation to the plantar fascia (i.e. the tissue on the sole of the foot forming your arch. It acts as a shock absorber in your foot. Plantar fasciitis is very common with around 1 in 10 people experiencing plantar fascia symptoms at some point in their life.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis most commonly occurs due to repetitive or prolonged activities placing strain on the plantar fascia. It is often seen in runners, dancers and gymnasts but may also occur in patients who walk excessively, especially up hills or on uneven surfaces. Plantar fasciitis frequently occurs in association with lower leg muscle tightness, inappropriate footwear, or foot abnormalities, such as excessively flat feet or high arches. Occasionally the condition may occur suddenly due to a high force such as a sudden acceleration or a forceful jump and land.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Pain is the main symptom. It can be anywhere on the underside of your heel or foot. However commonly, one spot is found as the main source of pain and may be tender to touch. The pain is often worse when you take your first steps in the morning, or after long periods of rest. Other painful activities can include prolonged standing, walking or running. The pain associated may ‘warm up’ with activity in the initial stages of injury but as the condition progresses you may experience and increase in symptoms with activity. In severe cases, you may start to limp or be unable to take weight on the affected leg.
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
A thorough examination from a physiotherapist is usually enough to diagnose plantar fasciitis. Sometimes further investigation such as an X-ray or ultrasound may be required.
What is the initial treatment for plantar fasciitis?
It may take several months and a combination of different treatments to help you recover from plantar fasciitis as the healing time of the plantar fascia tissue is slow. Initial treatments for plantar fasciitis can include plantar fascia stretches, ice therapy, lower leg muscle strenthening, foot orthotic prescription, taping and lifestyle advice.
If you think you have plantar fasciitis contact one of our physiotherapists today. We are committed to helping you through the recovery process.