Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and inflamed.

This causes your heel or the bottom of your foot to hurt when you stand or walk. Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:
> Your feet roll inward too much when you walk (excessive pronation).
> You have high arches or flat feet.
> You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
> You are overweight.
> You wear shoes that don't fit well or are worn out.
> You have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.

Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time. You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps but your foot may hurt more as the day goes on. Sometimes it can hurt the most when you climb stairs or after you stand for a long time.
If you have foot pain at night, you may have a different problem, such as arthritis, or a nerve problem such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Your Canadian certified Pedorthis C. Ped (C) will check your feet and watch you stand and walk. He or she will also ask questions about:
> Your past health, including any illnesses or injuries you have had.
> Your symptoms, such as where the pain is and what time of day your foot hurts most.
> How active you are and what types of physical activity you do.

Plantar fasciitis treatments are often a combin ation of approaches used for treating this injury.

> Reducing pain and inflammation is the first priority. Applying the RICE princples rest, ice, compression and elevation is important.

> A C. Ped (C) will do a gait analysis to identify biomechancial foot problems. From this analysis they can create a custom foot orthotic to best suit your foot.

> Protect your foot by wearing comfortable shoes or trainers. Hard or flat soled shoes are likely to make symptoms worse. 

> Plantar fasciitis stretches are important as soon as pain allows. Treatment usually consists of reducing painful symptoms. Stretching the tight fascia and lower leg muscles, correcting any causes. A gradual return to full fitness is very important. Don't push yourself to hard or to fast. Plantar fasciitis takes time to heal. 

> A night spint is a very effective way of stretching the plantar fascia under the heel. 

>Apply ice to help reduce pain and inflammation. Cold therapy can be applied for 10 minutes every hour if the injury is particularly painful for the first 24 to 48 hours. This can be reduced to 3 times a day as symptoms ease. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin but through a wet tea towel to avoid skin burns.