One of the most common causes of foot pain that we see in our clinic is PLANTAR FASCITIS. The following article will outline the anatomy, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors, complications and treatment of PLANTAR FASCITIS.
The plantar fascia is a flat band of connective tissue that connects the heel to the toes in your foot. Its purpose is to provide support to arches of the foot. Many people are not aware that there are actually three arches in the foot. There is one on the inside, outside and an arch that runs transversely across the middle of the foot.
The plantar fascia acts like a shock absorber, supporting the arches of the foot. If stresses and tension become to great, small tears can arise in the plantar fascia. Repetitive stresses and tension can cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed and irritated. There are many diagnosed cases of plantar fasciitis but sometimes a clear cause cannot be determined.
As stated often there can be no clear cause for someone getting plantar fascitis. However there are factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fascitis, they may include any or all of the following:
• Age. Most common between the ages of 40-60
• Excessive pronation or your feet roll inwards thus flattening the medial arch
• High arches or supination
• Certain types of exercise that place a lot of stress on the heel and attached tissue ie; running, dancing, jumping activities
• Improper foot wear
• Occupations that keep you on your feet.
• Tight calf muscles and achilles tendon
• Pain first thing in the morning upon walking for the first few steps
• Pain after sitting for long periods on the first few steps
• Pain during or after activity
• Pain with prolonged standing
• Tenderness over the heel or medial arch and into the forefoot
• Generalised ache during the day or at night
Based on someones subjective complaints its fairly easy to come up with a diagnosis for plantar fascitis. A regulated health care professional should do an objective examination to confirm the diagnosis. Looking at the foot structure and mechanics, palpations for tenderness and gait analysis.
Sometimes imaging maybe requested. An xray may reveal a bone spur, which was commonly thought to be a cause but the spur is usually a result of the plantar fascitis. Diagnostic ultra sound may also be requested.
As with any soft tissue condition, not having early intervention to the condition, plantar fascitis can lead to chronic heel pain, bones spurs and have a major affect on regular activities. It may also lead to pain in other area such as ankles, knees, hips, and the spine.
Plantar fascitis responds to conventional rehabilation treatment. The KEY as with any soft tissue injury is early diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include some or all of the following.
• Therapies: Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy
• Self treatment: heat,ice, foot roller, self massage
• Night splints
More invasive treatment may include; Injections, shockwave therapy, removal of scar tissue, and surgery to remove the plantar fascia.
If you suffer from any of the signs and symptoms mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to contact a local regulated health care professional for early diagnosis and treatment of your condition.
Stephen Nero Reg PT
Glen Abbey Physiotherapy