Heel and foot pain is very common, however it is poorly diagnosed and often ignored. Causes can be as simple as over exercising, medical condition such as diabetes or arthritis, the shape of your foot or foot wear can all contribute to you suffering from planatar fascitis
- Plantar fasciitis is common condition in long-distance runners, however jogging, walking or even stair climbing also can place too much stress on your foot causing the attachment to flare or tear resulting in pain. Even household chores, such as moving furniture or large household appliances, can trigger the pain.
- Particular types of arthritis can cause inflammation in the tendons and or their attachments in the bottom of your foot, which may lead to plantar fasciitis.
- plantar fasciitis occurs more often in people with diabetes, though medically we are unsure why this occurs
- Being flat-footed, or having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way your foot works, putting stress on the plantar fascia.
- Poor quality shoes that are thin-soled, loose, high heeled or lack arch support don't support the normal movement of your foot which can contribute to causing strain on the plantar fascia.
The “plantar fascia” is a piece of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the base of the toes, on the sloe of your foot. It function is to support the arch of the foot by acting as a bowstring. It connects the ball of the foot to the heel. It also acts as part of the shock-absorbing mechanism of the foot and stabilizes the foot when your toe lifts off.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms usually develop gradually on a few days or even a few weeks, but it can come on suddenly and be severe. And although it can affect both feet, it more often occurs in only one foot
- Sharp pain at the bottom of your heel, almost like walking on glass.
- Mild swelling within your foot and around your heel
- The pain, tends to be worse with the first few steps in the morning, going up stairs or standing on tiptoes
- Pain after long periods of standing or getting up from sitting
- Post exercise pain, usually wont occur during exercise
- Wearing a splint fitted to your calf and foot while you sleep, to stretch the fasica, tendons and surrounding tissue. This holds them in a lengthened position overnight so that they can be stretched more effectively.
- Your doctor, physiotherapist or podiatrist may prescribe off-the-shelf or make custom-fitted orthotics to help distribute pressure to your feet more effectively. Shoes of a particular brand or fitting may be prescribed also.
- Physiotherapy can provide you with a series of exercises and stretches designed to decrease pain, improve range of motion and strengthen lower leg muscles, all of which will help your ankle and heel.
- As a last resort, when other treatments haven’t worked, your doctor or physiotherapist may suggest injections of corticosteroid into the plantar fascia attachment at the heel to provide temporary relief. When all else fails, surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone called a plantar fasciotomy. It's generally an option only when the pain is severe and debilitating and every other treatment method has been exhausted.