Pain or injury in the foot is very common, with numerous potential causes. One of the most common of those is an injury to the foot called plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band, which extends from the heel along the sole of the foot towards the toes. It acts to support the arch of the foot. When the plantar fascia develops micro tears or inflammation this is known as plantar fasciitis.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
It is caused by either a compression injury or a traction/overstretching injury to the plantar fascia. You will most commonly see it in runners that tend to strike more on the heel and overload the plantar fascia.
It is also often associated with people who have got poor foot biomechanics. For example people who have flat feet or weak arch muscles are at a higher risk of over stretching/overloading the plantar fascia.
What do you do for plantar fasciitis?
The most common treatments include:
- Low dye taping (to lift and support the arch)
- Massage and stretching of the calf muscle and plantar fascia
- Icing the plantar fascia
- Ultrasound to settle down inflammation
- Strengthening exercises for the calf and arch muscles
- Orthotics may also be helpful
How to avoid plantar fasciitis?
To avoid getting plantar fasciitis it is important to ensure that you have appropriate foot wear with adequate support for the activities you are doing. It is important to warm up and stretch pre and post exercises.
Also ensure that you are gradually increasing your exercise load to avoid overloading. If not managed appropriately in the early stages, plantar fasciitis is one of those injuries that will take a while to resolve. To avoid it becoming a chronic issue it is important to seek treatment and advice early.