Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition involving pain in the 'connective tissue' of soles of the feet (called the plantar fascia).  The plantar fascia stretches from the heel (calcaneus) to the toes (phalanges).  It is an important part of the foot and helps with the correct movement of the arch of your foot whilst walking and running.

image of foot showing plantar fasciitisWho gets Plantar Fasciitis?

It is very common in runners, as well those who are overweight, or have significantly increased their exercise/activity regime recently. It affects both men and women equally and in the USA up to 2 million cases are reported each year.

What does Plantar Fasciitis feel like?

Plantar Fasciitis is intense pain in the soles of feet, this can be located around the heel, or further down the foot.  It is usually worse in the mornings and first few steps can be very painful when getting out of bed.  The pain then subsides, but can become a problem later in the day if standing, walking, or running for prolonged periods.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

It is caused by repeated over-loading and excessive torsioning of the plantar fascia.  This is usually due to poor foot biomechanics, which can be as a result of wearing the 'wrong' shoes, having other problems with the feet (such as bunions), and/or a muscular imbalance further up the body.

How do I get rid of Plantar Fasciitis?

There is no single treatment that is completely effective, it usually requires a number of different approaches to resolve it.  However, there are a number of things that can provide temporary relief for plantar fasciitis; using heat and self-massage to the feet and calves is something you can do yourself.  

Suitable Therapies

Sports Massage and Acupuncture can also be beneficial, if you're looking for a practitioner who can help.  However, it's also important to identify the root cause, so that can be addressed. Finding someone who can do Gait Analysis and advise you on footwear (such as a podiatrist, or other qualified person) will be helpful. As will a Movement Coach, or Sports Therapist who can also look at muscle/load imbalances to help you with your rehabilitation.

Author: James Barnett

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