Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the tough fibrous band of tissue (also called a fascia) at the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to your toes. Its purpose is to help lift the heel off the ground during gait, that is when you are walking or running. When the heel lifts the planta fascia winds around the base of the toes and becomes taut. In some foot types this structure becomes susceptible to injury which can be painful and if this becomes chronic it is known as plantar fasciitis. The pain commonly occurs at the medial, the inner part of the heal, but also can occur at any part of the plantar fascia.
Symptoms – The symptoms can be varied including a stiffness in the heel. Other symptoms could be a swelling and tenderness on the bottom of the foot, a sharp burning sensation often worse from rest, for example first thing in the morning and eases with movement. Then as the day goes on the pain tends to get worse again.
Causes – The causes of plantar fasciitis can also be varied. The condition can occur in active people, commonly between 40 – 70 years old. Also wearing the wrong shoes with poor arch support can aggravate the plantar fascia as can a change in exercise patterns, say to a more high stress regime. Arthritis and some other medical conditions can be a cause of plantar fasciitis.
A biomechanical assessment from an experienced podiatrist can help diagnose plantar fasciitis and if appropriate a bespoke orthotic can be prescribed. This orthotic supports and cushion the foot, reduces pain on impact when you walk and minimises the stress and stretching of the plantar fascia. If your main symptom is heel pain an orthotic can support your arch helping to minimise excessive pronation (an abnormal inward motion of the foot) and reduce stress on your plantar fascia. Your podiatrist will advise you on footwear so that together with your orthotic your shoes will absorb shocks, reduce impacts and allow healing to take place.