Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and pain on the sole of the foot. Fasciitis refers to inflammation of the fascia, which is a strong band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. It is also responsible for supporting the arch of your foot. The plantar fascia absorbs the impact and stresses placed on the foot. When the fascia is over used or over stressed symptoms typically become first apparent at the heel area, where the plantar fascia attaches to the bone. The plantar fascia is put under strain when the toes are pulled into extension, which helps to push the foot off from the ground when walking. It can also be stressed when the arch of the foot collapses putting extra strain on the fascia.
Tight calf muscles that make it difficult to flex your foot may contribute to plantar fasciitis. In addition being over-weight can cause excess strain of the fascia. High impact activities such as running or starting a new activity can also contribute to the problem. Lastly, wearing non-supportive shoes that do not provide enough support to the foot may also be a contributing factor.
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include: pain to the bottom of the foot near the heel, pain in the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning or after long periods of rest, and increased pain after exercise.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis is aimed at reducing the inflammation and tension of the plantar fascia in order to restore strength and mobility. Some treatment options for inflammation include ice and pulsed ultrasound. Ice can be applied by freezing a plastic water bottle and rolling the bottle on the floor with the sole of the foot. In addition, your physiotherapist may tape the arch of the foot to help provide support for the foot. Wearing supportive foot wear, the use of orthotics, and reducing high impact activities may also be of benefit. Finally, exercises that help to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot and stretching the calf muscles may also help to relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Please speak with your physiotherapist to determine the appropriate treatment plan for you.