Foot Health

Plantar Fascitis

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue, much like a tendon, that starts at your heel and goes along the bottom of your foot. It attaches to each one of the bones that form the ball of your foot. The plantar fascia works like a rubber band between the heel and the ball of your foot to form the arch of your foot.

Definition

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue, much like a tendon, that starts at your heel and goes along the bottom of your foot. It attaches to each one of the bones that form the ball of your foot. The plantar fascia works like a rubber band between the heel and the ball of your foot to form the arch of your foot. If the band is short, you'll have a high arch, and if it's long, you'll have a low arch, what some people call flatfeet. A pad of fat in your heel covers the plantar fascia to help absorb the shock of walking. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of this plantar fascia.

Cause

Plantar Fasciitis often leads to heel pain, heel spurs, and/or arch pain. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort, can be caused by the following

  • Flat feet (Over Pronation) occurs in the walking process which results in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.
  • A foot with an unusually high arch
  • A sudden increase in physical activity
  • Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy
  • Improperly fitting footwear

With Plantar Fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.

Running and jogging are excellent forms of exercise, but they subject the body to considerable stress. Each time a runner's foot hits the ground, for example, it generates forces equivalent to at least three times the body's weight. It is important to do everything possible to protect the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back vertebrae.

Treatment

The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation and allow the condition to heal.

If you have usually high arches, which can also lead to plantar fasciitis, cushion the heel, absorb shock and wear proper footwear that will accommodate and comfort the foot.

Consult Your Local Podiatrist for assessment and advice.