Plantar Fasciitis is a cause of pain in the heel and medial arch area and caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that runs along the arch of the foot from the inside heel area to the metatarsal heads. It helps to support the arch of the foot and can also act as a shock absorber.
The cause of plantar fasciitis is thought to be repetitive small injuries to the fascia and the site of the injury is usually where the fascia attaches onto the heel bone.
Some of the common reasons for injuring the plantar fascia are:
- Moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active lifestyle with more standing, walking or running.
- Change of surface when exercising e.g. running on a road instead of a track.
- Poor quality or poor fitting footwear.
- Being overweight.
- Sudden injury to the foot such as overstretching or change of technique.
- Increasing activity levels.
- Shortened Achilles tendon or tight calf muscles.
- Unusual sudden bursts of exercise such as running for a bus.
Plantar Fasciitis is quite common with 1 in 10 people suffering in their lifetime.
The pain is usually located on the underside of the heel and usually the pain is worse when weight bearing first thing in the morning, when standing after periods of rest and after prolonged walking or exercise.
A combination of the following treatments may be required to alleviate the symptoms but in some circumstances the pain can last for several months.
- Rest – This can be difficult depending on your lifestyle but try and avoid prolonged standing, walking or running.
- Footwear – Unsupportive, ill-fitting footwear should be avoided. Try and wear closed in supportive shoes with a lace or velcro fastening.
- Pain Relief – Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine can help.
- Exercises – Gentle exercise can help and there are certain stretching exercises in particular.
- Orthoses – There are a variety of orthotic devices which can be used in your overall treatment plan.
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