Summary of Plantar Fasciitis
The Plantar Fascia is a band of tissue that connects the heel to the under surface of the middle bones within the foot. Inflammation and / or degeneration usually occurs at the attachment to the heel and can result in pain. This is a condition known as Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis FAQ's
The plantar fascia runs from the heel, widening and connecting to the under surface of the middle foot bones. This band of tissue supports the arch of the inner foot and acts as a shock-absorber particularly when walking or running. If the plantar fascia becomes inflamed or breaks down, this is known as Plantar Fasciitis.
Pain under the heel is the most common symptom, with a tenderness on the inside of the under-foot. Pain is often worst first thing in the morning particularly when weight is put through the foot after a period of inactivity. Over the course of the day however the pain may escalate if activity increases. In severe cases the patient may begin to compensate by walking on the outer side of the heel, causing indirect knee and hip pain to develop.
With no surgical intervention, most patients are fully recovered within a year.
The cause of this condition it likely to be repeated small injuries to the fascia, particularly around the heel bone. This is particularly prevalent in patients who are on their feet all day or who engage in a high amount of physical activity such as running. On the other hand, a relatively sedentary lifestyle may also be a causing factor as the plantar fascia will be subject to high pressure after long periods of in activity as soon as the individual stands up – this can do as much damage as overuse. Inadequate footwear on hard ground can aggravate the issue, as can obesity and extra strain, a change in training program for sporting activity, or even simply old age.
As the plantar fascia has a slow healing rate, large amounts of rest are not realistic and so it is recommended that you avoid overuse as far as possible, to allow the tissue to heal. Inserts in the shoe can help to redistribute pressure onto other areas of the foot and provide relief, and exercises that stretch out the underside of the foot will alleviate tension and strengthen the muscles that support in the inner arch of the foot. Massaging the painful area is also recommended to deal with the tension and the pain.
This condition can be caused by a number of factors which all relate to excessive tension on the fascia. The prescribed exercises will help to ease the tension on the foot and ankle muscles, thus relieving the tension on the fascia and allowing the pain to ease.