Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. It is an overuse injury causing heel pain which may radiate forward into the foot. Plantar fasciitis can also be known as a heel spur although they are not strictly the same. A heel spur is a bony growth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone (calcaneus). A heel spur can occur (with repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia) on a foot with no symptoms at all and a painful heel can have no heel spur present.
The Plantar Fascia or arch tendon is a broad, thick band of tissue that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot . A rupture can sometimes occur at the origin of the arch ligament and result in inflammation and pain.
- Heel pain, under the heel and usually on the inside, at the origin of the attachment of the fascia
- ometimes there may also be pain along the outside border of the heel. This may occur due to the offloading the painful side of the heel by walking on the outside border of the foot. It may also be associated with the high impact of landing on the outside of the heel if you have high arched feet.
- Pain is usually worse first thing in the morning. After a few minutes it eases as the foot gets warmed up, but can get worse again during the day especially if walking a lot.
- Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs are common sports which involve running, dancing or jumping.
- Runners who excessively pronate (feet rolling in or flattening) are particularly at risk as the biomechanics of the foot pronating causes additional stretching of the plantar fascia.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is very tight calf muscles which leads to prolonged and / or high velocity pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over stretching of the plantar fascia leading to inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it loses flexibility and strength.
- Rest until it is not painful. It can be very difficult to rest the foot as most people will be on their feet during the day for work. By walking on the painful foot you are continually aggravating the injury and increasing inflammation. However a good plantar fasciitis taping technique can help the foot get the rest it needs by supporting the plantar fascia.
- Tape is applied in strips across the plantar fascia taking the stress off the foot which allows the inflammation to settle and healing to take place
- Apply ice or cold therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation. Cold therapy can be applied regularly until symptoms have resolved.
- Stretching the plantar fascia is an important part of treatment and prevention. Simply reducing pain and inflammation alone is unlikely to result in long term recovery. The plantar fascia tightens up making the origin at the heel more susceptible to becoming inflamed. Tightening of the plantar fascia happens in particular over night which is why pain is often worse in the morning.
At Physioline, all the members of the rehabilitation team work together so as to provide proper care and the therapy in order to:
- Pain relief
- Muscle strengthening
- Foot wear modification
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