Plantar Fasciitis is a painful foot condition that occurs when the tissue at the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, becomes irritated and inflamed.
The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue located on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. This tissue is responsible for supporting the arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports the arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if you:
- Allow your to feet roll inward too much when you walk (excessive pronation)
- Have high arches or flat feet
- Walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces
- Are overweight
- Wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out
- Have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is significant heel pain. The pain is usually the worst immediately upon awakening, following periods of rest, or being on your feet for long periods of time. It usually affects just one foot but can develop in both feet at the same time.
To diagnosis this problem, your doctor will examine your foot to see what kind of structural problems you may have, and oftentimes an imaging test will be needed as well.
Non-surgical treatment almost always helps to improve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. While doing physical therapy, your therapist will perform different toe stretches, calf stretches, and heel stretches. Manual therapy can help significantly, and your PT may also recommend dry needling as a treatment option. Icing your foot is also a good idea to help to reduce the inflammation. Your therapist may also recommend investing in a new pair of shoes or an orthotic insert to help provide adequate support to the arch of your foot.