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Is it Plantar Fasciitis

Mar 7, 2019

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This is one of the most common complaints we see as Pedorthists, but not all heel and arch pain is caused by plantar fasciitis.  A thorough assessment will help confirm if this condition is the reason you are experiencing heel or arch pain.

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that spans most of the bottom of the foot, from the inside of the heel bone to the ball of the foot (base of the toes from big toe to baby toe).  Its function is to support the arch of the foot by undergoing tension when weight is placed on the foot. While walking, it acts a bit like a spring, stretching or elongating under load. It also elevates the arch and shortens the foot at push off.

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain when you get out of bed in the morning, or with the first few steps after sitting for an extended period.  It may be tender to touch or to any pressure, usually at the inside of the heel and /or along the arch where the band of tissue runs.

It is sometimes hard to identify the cause of plantar fasciitis, but it is often a result of poor foot or lower leg mechanics, prolonged standing, trauma, weight gain, or change in activity or footwear.  Tight calf muscles have been linked as a common risk factor for plantar fasciitis.

Pedorthic treatment options for plantar fasciitis may include:

  • Custom Made Foot Orthoses (orthotics) specifically designed to support your individual foot, redistribute pressure and improve foot function to unload the plantar fascia

  • Over-the-Counter Insoles and other devices such as heel cups or night splints

  • Stable and Supportive Footwear.  Your Pedorthist will make recommendations for footwear features based on your assessment findings and foot type

  • Stretching of your calf and hamstring muscles as well as foot and ankle “warm up” exercises.

 

In addition, you can help yourself by

  • Reducing aggravating activities if possible

  • Wear shoes indoors and out, and all day long, until your condition resolves.  Do not stand barefoot on arising in the morning

  • Return to activity slowly to give the injured tissue time to adapt to increased load.