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Plantar Fascia
31st August 2018

Plantar Fasciitis: What is It?

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.

Whilst this problem is more common in runners also people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.

What is the plantar fascia?

Imagine the PF like a quite tight and tough string which support the tension in the long arch of your foot. This is very helpful to absorb the forces from the ground at every step and reduce the shocks on the rest of the body, like knees, hips and back. Without it, we would be very flat-footed and walking like a little duck without a spring in our step.

So, what causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Poor support of the foot arch and high load or wrong alignment of the joint can lead to an inflammation of the plantar fascia. Flats/flip- flops or even Huggies like boots might be very comfy but they don’t offer much support or shock absorption. This alone can irritate the plantar fascia. Running with a poor technique or/and high mileage is and obvious risk factor. But you don’t need to be an athlete to get this pain.

Standing/walking for hours on hard ground like in shops, warehouses, stations can also put lot of strain on the poor feet. Add some excessive weight to carry around and combine it with poor footwear and the risk of suffering of Plantar Fasciitis is just around the corner.

What can you do?

  • Avoid flats and flip flops as a general shoe choice for long periods of standing or long distance walking.
  • If you have to sand for long take some time to stretch your calf muscles and hamstrings at the beginning and at the end of the day. Some yoga exercises can be very helpful.
  • Massage the sole of your foot with a little ball or, if in pain already, use a cold can from the freezer and roll the foot on it.
  • Physiotherapy will help you first of all to identify the cause of “your own” Plantar Fasciitis. This can be different than the cause of your neighbour’s problem! It will also help to prevent PF from happening again.  A proper general assessment followed biomechanical assessments, gait and running analysis strengthening and stretching exercises will help to solve the plantar fasciitis problem. In addition strapping, massage, deep frictions. electrotherapy and shock re-absorber can help to reduce the pain.

Untreated Plantar Fascitis can increase the risk of problems with your Achilles tendon, shin splint, calf muscles, hamstrings and even lower back.

If you have been suffering with PF ask professional help at your physiotherapy clinic.

At Swissphysio we have helped many people to be pain free and many athletes from different backgrounds to go back to their optimal performance level .

Published on: 31st August 2018