Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot, and is the most common cause of heel pain. It involves the band of tissue spanning from the big toe to the inner part of the heel. This tissue is meant to help support the longitudinal arch of your foot but if the muscles supporting this tissue are weak or strained, the fascia will become swollen and inflamed.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is common most commonly seen in two groups: middle-aged adults and young people who are either athletic or are on their feet a lot. The structure involved is the longitudinal arch of the foot. The problem is often caused by poor foot instrisic strength, collapsed arches, poor posture or gait, poorly fitted shoes, standing, walking or running for lengthy periods of time on hard surfaces or changing an exercise regime too quickly for the tissues to accommodate to the increased demands. .
The fascia supporting the longitudinal arch of the foot is affected, although it is not the culprit. Pain is often experienced first thing in the morning after getting out of bed or when standing up after sitting for a long time, or with prolonged walking with poor footwear. The pain can increase during the day as you spend more time on your feet or after you climb stairs or stand for a long period of time.
The most common complaint is pain that can be palpated with one finger at the underside of the heel. That pain can radiate throughout the arch of the foot towards the big toe or up the side of the heel. Occasionally tingling or numbness may be present if the medial and lateral plantar nerves are affected.
Plantar fasciitis usually disappears with conservative measures, and there is no single universal effective treatment. Rest is often effective, including staying off your feet or staying off hard surfaces. Ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, stretches and good quality footwear will also help. If managed quickly after onset the pain should ease within 8-12 weeks. If pain is chronic (lasting longer than 3 months) it may take longer and will require more aggressive treatment which may include splints to be worn at night, steroid injections, or surgery as a last resort.
How Apex Can Help
Physiotherapy and massage therapy will aim to reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles, stretch the tight structures predisposing the plantar fascia to strain and strengthen the muscles in the arch of the foot. There may also be a problem higher up the kinetic chain in the hip or knee that needs to be addressed in order to fix the problem. If pain is severe or persistent, shockwave therapy has been proven to speed recovery.
In addition to traditional therapy, the Apex Centre offers custom orthotics and Bauerfiend compression garments. If you suspect you may be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, our professional health team can devise a course of treatment that will have you on your feet again without pain.