Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain

The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that runs from your heel to the ball of your foot.  Plantar fasciitis is painful inflammation of this tissue.  This pain and inflammation is caused by chronic overstretching and tearing of the plantar fascia.

Plantar fasciitis is usually associated with collapsed arches of the feet.  To see this is simple.  Sit in a chair with your bare feet flat on the ground, but with no weight on them.  You can see the arches on the inside of the foot.  Now stand up.  You will notice that your arch collapses.  When this arch collapses a significant amount, the plantar fascia is stretched beyond its normal range. This can cause the fascia to start to tear, causing pain.

Signs and Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis affects approximately 10% of people, and more commonly women.  1 of 4 people with plantar fasciitis will have this in both feet at the same time.  Risk factors include being overweight, standing and running for prolonged periods.  Inappropriate footwear can also contribute to developing plantar fasciitis.

The classic sign for plantar fasciitis is heel pain in the first few steps first thing in the morning.  Plantar fasciitis pain can last throughout the day, and may even cause pain at rest.  Some people also experience muscle tension and pain in their Achilles tendons, calf and hamstring muscles.

The best way to explain why the pain occurs, is as follows:

When you are sleeping, the arch is in a relaxed and shortened state.  This allows the plantar fascia to knit together.  When you stand up first thing in the morning, you stretch the fascia and tear the newly knitted tissue away from the attachment on the heel.

How We Help

Plantar fasciitis is one of the more frustrating conditions to deal with.  It often lasts 18 months or longer, if left untreated.

With the correct treatment you can recover much more quickly.  One of the most important factors is to ensure you are wearing footwear with good support.  Runners may also need to (temporarily) reduce their mileage. This will allow a period of rest to help their feet recover.  A ‘Strassburg sock’ worn at night will also help.  These recommendations coupled with an appropriate treatment plan will help you make a speedy recovery.

It's time to stop walking on eggshells because your feet and heels hurt.