What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition in which the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. It affects 1:10 people and is common between the age of 40-60. Your plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue like the achilles tendon that stretches from your heel bone (calcaneus) to your toes and forms the longitudinal arch of the foot. It supports the arch of your foot and acts as a dynamic shock-absorber in your foot.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
People that have flat arches (pes planus) or high arches (pes cavus) have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Flat feet places increased strain on the insertion of the plantar fascia into the heel bone during “toe off” in your gait cycle especially if you run because it try’s to maintain a stable arch whereas a rigid high arch lacks the ability to shock absorb. It is also commonly associated with:
- Being on your feet for a long period of time, or if you do lots of walking, running, when you are not used to it.
- Changing an exercise program to a different surface (treadmill to athletics track)
- Wearing rigid shoes with poor cushioning/arch support.
- If you are overweight – this will put extra strain on your heel.
- If you have a tight calf/hamstring muscles or poor ankle mobility.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Pain is usually of gradual onset and mainly affects the inside of the heel. It’s usually worse in the mornings and decreases with activity. As the symptoms become more severe pain will commence on weight bearing activities. Sudden stretching of the sole of your foot may make the pain worse – for example, walking up stairs or on tiptoes.
How do I treat plantar fasciitis?
There are some simple steps that you can take to take pressure off the plantar fascia:
- Try to rest your foot as much as possible and avoid activities that aggravate it.
- Applying and ice pack to the area for 15-20 minutes may help relieve the pain.
- Footwear with well supported arches and well cushioned heels can create relief.
- Heel pads can help take the excessive strain of the inflamed area by decreasing the stretch on the calf.
- Foam rolling the calf muscles or self massage with a frozen golf ball can be effective.
“I was injured for two months and filled with despair, then I went for some treatment with Mario. After just 4 sessions, I am relatively pain free and this weekend won my age group at the Marlow Duathlon.” Thanks Mario!
Team GB Age-group Triathlete.