What is the plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is a tough band of tissue the travels underneath the foot from the heel all the way to the toes. It performs a very clever and important role. Whenever we walk, jog, jump or run, the foot needs to behave like a soft/flexible absorber of force on impact but a strong/solid producer of force on push-off. The plantar fascia is the structure that tightens the foot during push-off through a very clever process called the windlass mechanism.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when there is overload, degeneration and inflammation where the plantar fascia attached to the heel bone.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
There are many potential causes of plantar fasciitis but in most cases it is multifactorial. Forces through the plantar fascia can be affected by heavy or repetitive loads, poor footwear, weak stabilising muscles or uneven terrain.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The two most common symptoms are;
- Pain in the under-surface of the heel that is at its worst when initiating movement (getting out of bed, getting up from sitting) and may also get worse again towards the end of a day
- A feeling like there is a small stone or pebble under the heel felt on walking
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by an expert Sport and Exercise Physician without the need for further investigation.
What is the treatment for plantar fasciitis?
As the cause is usually multifactorial, the treatment usually is too. A corticosteroid injection is very effective in settling down the inflammation at the attachment of the plantar fascia but, in most cases, this needs to be combined with other supportive treatment like releasing the tightness, improving footwear and support and occasionally a brief period of immobilisation. Other treatments are also available but your doctor will always discuss with you what options are appropriate for your particular situation.