Plantar fasciitis can often be a crippling pain of the foot that makes even simple walking extremely painful. It’s usually worst first thing in the morning and characterised by extreme stiffness that’s made worse when you try and plant your foot on the ground. 

In the early stages, it’s described as a bruised bone type feeling or a sharp stabbing under the heel when walking. There may be a constant dull aching pain if you’ve been walking or on your feet for some time. The arch of the foot may be tight and tender to touch. 

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue, ligaments and tendons that connects the bottom of your foot from back to front (heel to toes). When you suddenly increase the amount of walking or time spent standing on your feet, it can overload this structure and cause pain and inflammation. 

CAUSES OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Exercises or activities that you continuously perform may create excessive overloading of the structures (plantar fascia). However, often there is no direct correlation activity that first aggravated the plantar fasciitis condition. The most common triggers are:

Increase in exercise load

 A sudden increase in the amount of weight-bearing activities you perform may be responsible, especially for those who were sedentary beforehand. It’s essential to introduce new exercises into your routine slowly, so you adequately rest and adapt.

Footwear and Biomechanics

Poor chosen footwear or old shoes that have worn down, creating a sole that is too “soft” or provides little support for your foot. Investing in a quality pair of footwear may help resolve symptoms by providing adequate support while training, walking or standing. This is important for those with high arches or flatter feet; changing shoes can be a great help here. 

Muscle tightness

Muscle tightness can contribute to plantar fasciitis. The muscles of the lower leg provide the strength and support to the foot, and if their length-tension relationship is off-balanced, they will pull on the plantar fascia. This means that when walking, standing or exercising your foot will not be able to absorb force due to the muscles around the foot already being tight and unable to provide their intended support to the foot. 

Excess Body Weight

Being overweight means, you have a total load to carry through your body and are at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to the extra loads placed through the feet to take that additional weight.

Bony Osteophytes

Bony osteophytes, better known as heel spurs, can develop and be present in the foot, particularly the heel. While having heel spurs doesn’t mean you have or at higher risk of plantar fasciitis as many people have may heel spurs and not even be aware of it. A thorough assessment is essential here to determine the real cause of your symptoms. 

 

TREATMENT

These are the main strategies used to combat plantar fasciitis conditions. 

Remove the stressor

Plantar Fasciitis responds well when you remove the excess load and rest from the activities that are causing the most issue. This can be the crucial first step to recovery. Modification of movement is essential not to stop the activity altogether. 

Examine your footwear

Do they provide enough support? Have you sought an assessment from a professional? Patients with flat foot may benefit from taping of the foot to provide additional support in the acute phases of the condition. 

Myotherapy and Remedial Massage

Improving muscle length-tension relationships of the foot, ankle, and hip can be an essential part in resolving plantar fasciitis symptoms. Massage release of the calf and shin muscles may assist the function of your foot and how well it handles loads, thereby decreasing the amount of stress through your plantar fascia. A strength rehabilitation program to strengthen the muscles of your foot may be of additional benefit too.