Plantar Fasciitis – What is it?
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic inflammation of the plantar aponeurosis. This a band of tissue that attaches from the heel of the foot to the forefoot (just before the toes). The plantar fascia provides support to the muscles and ligaments that support the arch. Repetitive stress to this area can also cause heel spurs to develop in this area.
What causes it?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is stretched irregularly and causes micro-tears, resulting in inflammation.
This can occur in several ways:
1. High arches
2. Fallen arches
3. Tight Achilles tendon and calf muscles
4. Repetitive overuse (jumping or pounding on feet)
5. Standing, walking, or running on hard surfaces
6. Being overweight
7. Poor support or cushioned shoes
8. Natural aging
9. Traumatic injury
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
1. Heel pain/stiffness (often with the first steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting which improves after a few steps, but may worsen by the end of the day.
2. Increased pain when climbing stairs .
3. Pain with standing on toes
4. Pain with prolonged standing
5. Pain at beginning of exercise, dissipates as exercise continues, returns once exercise is stopped
6. Tenderness on inner heel, bottom of foot, and along plantar fascia
What if I don’t treat this problem?
Failure to address plantar fasciitis can lead to increased pain , change in walking pattern (compensation which can lead to pain in other areas such as the knee, ankle, foot and back. In some cases the formation of a bone spur can result. This occurs with repetitive pulling of the fascia at their attachment of the heel bone, which stimulates calcium/bone growth resulting in a spur .
What should I do?
1. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain (i.e. running jumping etc.)
2. Wear shoes with good shock absorption and arch support. No heels of any kind.
3. Icing the heel 10 minutes several times a day.
4. Obtain heel cushions or arch supports, over the counter or custom.
5. Anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by your health care provider.
6. Replace high impact exercise with other non-weight bearing exercise (pool exercise, biking ellipse machine)
7. Custom orthotics may be recommended based on your physical therapy evaluation. Ask your physical therapist.
There are also revolutionary treatments available like ASTYM and cold LASER that can resolve plantar fasciitis in as few as 3 to 9 sessions, and costs as little as a good pair of shoes.
If you are suffering, call today for a free screen! (828) 348-1780.
Christopher Taylor, MPT
PHYSIO Physical Therapy and Wellness
640 Merrimon Ave, Ste 107
Asheville, NC 28804