The plantar fascia is a band of tissue which runs between the heel and the toes. It has several functions, mainly to support the arch and position the ankle correctly during gait. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition where this tissue becomes inflamed and / or thickened, usually at the heel.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is usually an overuse injury. If the arch is flatter or the ankle rolls in, the plantar fascia has more work to do to support it and it can become injured at the heel
What are the symptoms?
The classic presentation of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel first thing in the morning, which is very severe for the first few minute, eases off, then returns through the course of the day. It is often worse after rest or if you’ve been on your feet a long time.
What do I do if I have plantar fasciitis?
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be treated in the first instance with rest, icing, calf stretches and using a foot roller to stretch the plantar tissues. If this is not effective you may need an assessment by a podiatrist to investigate the cause of the problem. This will involve a detailed assessment of your symptoms and more importantly, why you have them. There are many variations of heel pain, and the best treatment depends on the exact nature of your pathology.
One of the mainstays of plantar fasciitis treatment programs are orthotics. These are devices which go in your shoes to compensate for whatever structural or functional situation caused your pain, and reduce the stress in the damaged tissue. They are a little like eyeglasses in that one can purchase generic devices (like reading glasses) for simple conditions over the counter, or on the internet. However if a more specific and tailored prescription is required they will need to be custom made for your requirements.