What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitus is when you have pain on your heel and/or in your foot arch.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is usually caused by a strain on the plantar fascia as it attaches to the heel bone or other areas on the sole of the foot.
This can be a rather frustrating injury as it tends to linger longer than most would like. It can take anything from 3 months to a year to recover from plantar fasciitus.
Mayo Clinic defines plantar fasciitis as:
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain.
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Signs and Symptoms of plantar fasciitis:
The pain is usually worse after a period of rest e.g. first thing in the morning.
It generally feels better with exercise but returns once exercise is completed.
Pain is commonly felt with raising your toes off the ground.
What causes plantar fasciitus?
It is not clear why plantar fasciitis happens but there are risk factors that have been identified. It is a common running injury caused potentially from repetitive pushing off with your toes.
Exercising with a tight calf can cause plantar fasciitus.
Over stretching of the foot
Recent increase or change in your training regime (eg changing surfaces, change in footwear, change in activity/intensity of exercise)
Poor or inappropriate footwear.
Very high or very low foot arches increases your risk of getting plantar fasciitus.
Extreme pronation or supination
Aimed at reducing the inflammation and load management/adaptation.
Ice can be useful to reduce pain and inflammation. A nice trick is to freeze a 500ml bottle of water and roll the underside of your foot. You can also use something like is shown in the picture at the top of this article.
Stretch your calf muscle. The length of your calf muscle plays an important role in this injury.
Stretching of the plantar fasciia needs to be done with caution and guidance from your physiotherapist.
Cushioned soles can be worn in your shoes to reduce the pain and inflammation. You may need to go for a podiatry assessment should your physio deem it necessary.
An assessment needs to be done within the biomechanical chain to see what other factors may be contributing e.g weak core, weak gluteal muscles etc
Your physio will guide you with the rehabilitation required to recover from this injury. This can be an injury that niggles for some time.
Shockwave therapy can be used for more stubborn cases, but the research is still in its infancy.
Some orthopaedic surgeons also do PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections. More research is needed on the effectiveness of this.