Plantar Fasciitis 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue under the base of the foot becomes painful, this is the number one cause of foot pain in the population. 

People who are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis will typically complain of pain in the base of the foot near the heel that is worse first thing in the morning and with standing and walking. 

Anatomy 

The plantar fascia is a long, thick ligament that is located along the base of the foot, it attaches at the heel and runs up towards the toes. Its role is to help support the arches of the feet and acts as a shock absorber on impact when running. 

Causes 

Many factors may contribute to developing plantar fasciitis, some of which include: 

  • Being overweight
  • Poor footwear
  • Unaccustomed load 
  • Age
  • Foot biomechanics 

These factors typically result in placing more load through the base of the foot which results in repetitive strain of the plantar fascia. 

Who does it affect? 

Because plantar fasciitis is so common it affects a wide range of people, it is estimated that Plantar Fasciitis: 

  • Accounts for approximately 10-20% of all running injuries 
  • Is slightly more common in females compared to males 
  • Will occur in both feet in about one third of cases
  • Majority of patients are active working adults aged between 25-65 

Recovery 

Plantar fasciitis can take upwards of 6 months to resolve, but the good news is that an estimated 90% of cases respond to conservative management. Some level of improvement is usually achieved in the first 3-6 weeks in response to avoidance of aggravating activities. 

Management 

The goal of initial management is to improve pain levels and avoid or modify aggravating factors where possible. This often involves treatment and exercises with the aim of improving ankle & foot mobility, stretching of the leg and foot muscles, and icing the plantar fascia. 

Later stage management is targeted towards increasing load tolerance and strengthening the muscles in the foot and leg. Some other strategies that may be helpful for plantar fasciitis include

 

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