The Plantar Fascia attaches between the heel bone and the bones at the base of the toes, covering the small muscles along the sole of the foot. It is one of the primary stabilizing structures of the arch on the inner side of the foot. Inflammation of the Plantar Fascia usually occurs at the point where it connects to the heel bone. Furthermore, Plantar Fasciitis is common in older individuals, and individuals who do a lot of standing. Also, walking or sporting activities can be the main causes. It has the tendency to be more common in females and in people who are overweight.
First of all, the best and most important advice is to have adequate rest, to take the strain off the Plantar Fascia and give tissues time to heal. In addition, some cases of Plantar Fasciitis may have an issue with the biomechanics of the foot, increasing the problem. Furthermore, the usual findings are a foot that ‘over pronates’, where the inner arch of the foot rolls over an excessive amount during walking and running. This can produce tightness in the Achilles tendon. Also, recent research has suggested that a tight Achilles tendon can increase strain on the Plantar Fascia. Lastly, an orthotic insert that supports the inner arch of the foot can help to remedy this.
Most of all, Physiotherapy aims to reduce local inflammation and address any biomechanical problems. While the Plantar Fascia is still painful, pain can be reduce using Ice Packs. Once the pain has gone down, stretching the Plantar Fascia (by pulling the toes towards the shin) works in encouraging the tissue to regain its normal alignment. This helps the healing process and can relieve the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis. Stiff joints around the foot and ankle may be treated using mobilization, where the physiotherapist gently moves the joints manually to remove the stiffness and restore the normal range of movement. Taping has been shown as being an effective treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. The tape supports the Plantar Fascia and removes some of the strain that can aggravate the condition.
Plantar Fasciitis eases with treatment in 95 % of cases. However, in severe cases where heel pain is affecting normal walking then an injection with a mixture of corticosteroid and anesthetic may be helpful. Following this injection, the patient is should rest for a few days andthen normal activities may be resumed gradually.
Inadequate footwear is often the cause of Plantar Fasciitis. Shoes should provide adequate support for the foot. Unsuitable footwear can increase strain of the Plantar Fascia and result in the development of inflammation. Orthotics that support the arch on the inner side of the foot may be helpful for limiting excessive pronation and relieving stress on the Plantar Fascia and Achilles tendon.