Plantar Fasciitis is sustained when the Plantar Fascia becomes inflamed and usually occurs at the point in which your heel attaches to the tissue. Plantar Fascia is the band of tissue that stretches from your heel to the bones found in the middle of your foot, acting as a shock absorber in the foot as well as supporting the arch. This injury is one of the most common causes of heel pain with 1 in 10 being affected by this injury at some point in their life. The injury usually occurs as a result of repetitive or excessive movement in the foot and ankle, making this injury common among gymnasts, dancers and runners. Plantar Fasciitis can also occur from gradual overuse of the tissue often through poor footwear with limited cushioning or walking on a variety of different hard surfaces.
A number of things can cause plantar fasciitis, including –
Pain in the underside of the heel is the most common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis. This pain is often worse first thing in the morning or after a long period of rest and also stretching the foot also tends to aggravate the injury and make the heel feel tender. It is also not uncommon for individuals to experience Plantar Fasciitis in both feet at the same time.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis is usually through examination by a doctor, and on rare occasions an X-ray or ultrasound may be used to rule out any further complications and to monitor swelling in severe cases.
Similar to ligament injuries, fascia tissue can take several months to heal fully, however during this time the pain tends to ease up. Resting the foot is vital so to not cause further damage or cause undue aggravation to the area which may prolong the healing process.
Wearing comfortable and supportive footwear and avoiding walking barefoot will also ensure your arch is supported and heel is cushioned. It is usually recommended that patients wear a sports shoe, possibly with an insole over sandals or slippers and that if extra support is required, heel pads and arch supports should be sought to provide further stability.
Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications can be used to relieve any pain felt and also to reduce any swelling in the heel.
Using an ice pack when the injury first occurs will also offer some pain relief and reduce any inflammation. This can then be repeated after any period of walking or standing which may aggravate the injury. We have seen great results with some less traditional methods, for example the Firstaid4sport adjustable night splint, this effectively stretches the tendons overnight easing pain during the day, or another option is using a slant board whilst sitting during the day. There are also taping techniques that can provide relief during activity, click here for the video guide.
Although rest is highly recommended during recovery, gentle, regular exercises of the Achilles Tendon may aid the healing process as well as keep the area strong and flexible, making it easier to return to sport once the injury has healed. By gently stretching the area, the exercises can relieve the tightness of the Achilles tendon and plantar fasciitis felt and reduce the pain felt as a result.
It usually takes around a week to recover from plantar fasciitis. After two weeks you should be able to return back to running or training.
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