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Overview - Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-eye-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).


Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.



Plantar fasciitis is more common in regular high impact sports people, people who are overweight, those who wear footwear with inadequate support or mechanical dysfunctions / structural abnormalities of the foot and ankle.


Symptoms


Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up after sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it.


Causes


Your plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring, supporting the arches of your foot and absorbing shock when you walk. If tension and stress on this bowstring become too great, small tears can occur in the fascia or changes to the tissue fibre types with the structure itself. Repeated stretching and tearing can irritate or inflame the fascia, although the cause remains unclear in many cases of plantar fasciitis.


In some cases, there is a strong link between Achilles tendon issues and Plantar Fasciitis.


Risk factors


Even though plantar fasciitis can develop without an obvious cause, some factors can increase your risk of developing this condition. They 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 — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.

  • Foot mechanics. Flat feet, a high arch or even an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you're standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.

  • Structural abnormalities. Occasionally the heel bone (Calcaneus) can develop bony spurs, which, may mechanically irritate and inflame the plantar fascia.

  • Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.

  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.


Complications


Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities. Changing the way, you walk as a way to relieve plantar fasciitis pain might lead to ankle, foot, knee, hip or back problems.


Treatments


There are various methods utilised in treating this condition and their relative success is often dependant upon how long the condition has been present.


Methods include:


  • Cold rolling on the sole of the foot (a cold can or bottle)

  • Extra-corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

  • Gel / cushion inlays for footwear

  • Shoe orthotics

  • Night splints

  • Therapeutic Ultra-sound treatment.

  • Taping techniques

  • Soft tissue massage & stretching of the calf muscles

  • Eccentric loading exercises

  • Extra-corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

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Hempstead Therapy Centre Ltd

Unit 26

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre

Rainham

Medway

Kent

ME7 3PB

TELEPHONE

01634 393113

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