Plantar fasciitis is a common condition where pain is experienced through the bottom of the foots heel. The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that extends across the sole of the foot originating at the calcaneus and expanding to the base of the toes, it assists with the stability and support of the arch in your foot. Overuse or a sudden increase in load/activity through the foot creates strain and can cause microtears/trauma within the facia this can be a common cause for plantar fasciitis. Other factors which may increase the chances of plantar fasciitis developing are decreased ankle movement, flat feet or high arches, obesity, poor biomechanics of the foot and unsuitable footwear.
Symptoms can include:
• Increased pain first thing in the morning when weight bearing
• Pain in the sole of the foot located just below the heel.
• Pain and/or stiffness is greater when initially standing after sitting or rest, and can eases with walking
• Prolonged walking or exercise can become painful
• Tightness in calf & achilles tendon
Conservative treatment is the preferred choice when treating if suitable. A combination of patient education, manual therapies, stretching and exercises can be used to establish a treatment plan. Duration of treatment will vary depending on the individual, their symptoms and presentation.
Initial treatment can consist of decreasing activities and load which causes aggravation allowing for a decrease in symptoms. Stretches and exercises for both the foot and calf with the aid of manual therapy techniques to help strengthen this area, the use of supportive shoes or orthotics can help with foot arch support and biomechanics. Other therapies which can be used in conjunction with manual therapy are splint therapy or pharmacological. Surgery may be considered as a treatment option for some cases.