The plantar fascia is a flat ligament type tissue made up of three bands that travel from the heel bone under the arch to just in front of the ball of the foot. Like other ligaments, it does not stretch but is designed to maintain the curvature of the arch of our feet and provide stability to our foot as we step off. While it is incredibly strong, we regularly see people complaining of pain in the heel because of injury to the plantar fascia. The most common reason is where small tears have developed in the plantar fascia, which have become inflamed: this condition is usually called plantar fasciitis, (the 'itis' at the in meaning inflammation). While it is normally a overuse condition and may develop gradually, multiple small injuries to the plantar fascia, (for which the person is unaware of), can be exacerbated and further injured by a single episode of high-pressure, (e.g. walking around town all day in the wrong shoes or standing on a ladder or jumping out of a truck.)
Factors that will increase your risk of having Plantar Fasciitis
The symptoms you can feel
The most common presenting symptom with plantar fasciitis is in severe pain first thing out of bed in the morning or taking the first few steps after sitting for long period of time. This can be due to many reasons, but often it is due to the connect tissue linkage between the plantar fasciitis and (tight) calf muscles. Most people, as they sleep in bed, position themselves in a fetal position, (curled up on their side, with feet pointing down). This allows the calf muscles to tighten up, so when you get out of bed and stand up, the calf muscle is not able to stretch out immediately. This causes the foot to compensate usually by rolling in, resulting in huge stress being placed on the plantar fascia. After some time of walking around or after a hot shower, the calf muscle stretches out, relieving the pressure on the plantar fascia and so the symptoms improve.
Is this you? Try this simple exercise to see if it helps:
We hope this helps!
Less common symptoms can be burning, tearing, aching that can become very sharp and a bruising feeling under the heel.
Treating this condition
The most difficult part of a successful treatment of plantar fasciitis is the correct diagnosis of what is causing the pain. The reason why there is so many treatments available for heel pain is that it does vary from person to person and it can be caused by a number of reasons. SO there is no one treatment that solves every plantarfascitis condition: no matter what the ads say!
My first advice would be to save you money and consult a podiatrist who regularly sees and treats heel pain. Once a thorough examination has done you may be offered the following treatment options:
WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist.