What is plantar fasciitis?

A common injury that we regularly diagnose and treat at Stagg Physiotherapy is Plantar Fasciitis.

plantar

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. Once your foot warms up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of sitting or standing.

Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.



What causes plantar fasciitis?

Repeated small injuries to the fascia (with or without inflammation) are thought to be the cause of plantar fasciitis. The injury is usually near to where the plantar fascia attaches to your heel bone.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue.
  • Faulty foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet.

What are the symptoms?

Pain is the main symptom. This can be anywhere on the underside of your heel. However, commonly, one spot is found as the main source of pain. This is often about 4 cm forward from your heel, and may be tender to touch.

What is the initial treatment for plantar fasciitis?

  • Rest your foot.
  • Footwear: Do not walk barefoot on hard surfaces. Choose shoes with cushioned heels and a good arch support.
  • Heel pads: advised from a physiotherapist or chiropodist/podiatrist.
  • Pain relief: as advised by Doctor/GP.
  • Exercises: prescribed by a physiotherapist to invidualise your needs.
  • Steroid injections: These may be advised in chronic cases.
  • Extracorporeal shock-wave therapy.

 

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