What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick connective tissue on the sole of the foot. This tissue, the plantar fascia, connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. This is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints in the foot. It is often also known by policeman’s heel or jogger’s heel.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Improper footwear or repetitive stress can result in overpronation and further causing constant tension of the plantar fascia resulting in inflammation of surrounding tissue. When you are not on your feet, scar tissue begins to repair the injury; but when you get back on your feet after being seated or wake up in the morning the newly formed scar tissue is re-torn resulting in acute pain.
What are the symptoms?
The most common complaint is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel and along the arch of the foot. The heel pain may be dull or sharp while the bottom of the foot may also ache or burn.
The pain is usually worse:
- In the morning when you take your first steps
- After standing or sitting for a while
- When climbing stairs
- After intense activity
The pain may develop slowly over time, suddenly after intense activity, or with a change in footwear/activity.
- Flat feet or very high arches
- Obesity or sudden weight gain
- Long-distance running, especially running downhill or on uneven surfaces
- A change in footwear
- Tight calf muscles and/or Achilles Tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel)
- Shoes with poor arch support or soft soles
Research has found that heel spurs are not necessarily factor for this condition as previously believed. On x-ray, heel spurs are seen in people with and without plantar fasciitis.
In the acute phase ice will aid in the reduction of inflammation. The biomechanical issue needs to be corrected to take the chronic strain of the fascia by way of manual manipulation of the bone and further support with a custom orthotic.