What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Summary:

Definition: Plantar Fasciits = inflammation of the Plantar Fascia

Symptoms: sharp pain in the heel with first steps in the morning or after resting, subsiding to dull ache, after walking for a while

Causes: poor foot biomechanics (over-pronation); age, weight gain

Treatment: orthotics to support the arches & re-align the foot; stretching exercises; ice; rest or reduced activity

Plantar Fasciitis (also called "policeman's heel") is a painful inflammatory condition causing chronic heel pain. In some cases it may also result in arch pain.

Symptoms

The pain usually is felt on the underside of the heel, and is often most intense with your first steps when getting out of bed in the morning. Plantar Fasciitis is presented by a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom or front of the heel bone. In most cases, heel pain is more severe following periods of inactivity (resting or sleeping) when getting up and then subsides, turning into a dull ache.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

This common foot complaint is mainly caused by abnormal pronation of the foot. Contributing factors are age, weight gain, jobs that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces, badly worn shoes with little support, and also inactivity.

As a result of over-pronation with every step you take the plantar fascia (band of tissue under the foot) is being stretched, resulting in inflammation, irritation and pain at the attachment of the fascia into the heel bone. In some cases the pain is felt under the foot, in the arch area.

Continuous pulling of the fascia at the heel bone eventually may lead to the development of bony growth on the heel. This is called a heel spur. During rest (e.g. when you're asleep), the plantar fascia tightens and shortens.

When body weight is rapidly applied to the foot, the fascia must stretch and quickly lengthen, causing micro-tearing of the tissue. Hence, the pain is more severe with your first steps in the morning or after sitting for a long period. PF animation

Over-stretching of the Plantar Fascia is more likely to happen if:

  • you suffer from over-pronation (lowering of the arches)
  • you stand/walk on hard surfaces for long periods
  • you have put on weight
  • the muscles and tendons in your feet and legs are tight
  • you are over 45

Treatment options for Plantar Fasciitis

The most commonly doctor-recommended treatment methods include:

- ice (applied onto the heel area for about 5 mins)

- rest or reduced activity (i.e. refrain from sports, running, walking distances, standing for long periods etc)

- cortisone-steroid injections (into the heel bone, usually perfomed by a GP)

- orthotic insoles, to correct poor foot biomechanics

- a program of daily exercises

Treatment with orthotic insoles

The most effective solution to Plantar Fasciitis is to treat the cause of the problem i.e. by correcting abnormal foot mechanics with orthotic insoles.

Developed by Australian podiatrists, Footlogics orthotics control over-pronation and support the arches. They help release the tension on the plantar fascia, thereby treating the cause of the problem and allowing the inflamed tissue to heal much faster. Footlogics also features a shock-absorbing heel pad helps reduce the impact on the painful heel, providing added relief and walking comfort.

Heel Pain Orthotics

Footlogics orthotics are available from selected pharmacies, physiotherapists, and podiatrists around Australia. The product is also available directly from Footlogics Australia (order on-line or by phone).

Footlogics orthotics have helped many thousands of heel pain sufferers in Australia, NZ, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. Please read the comments from our customers in Australia.

Daily exercises

A number of recent studies have shown that the most effective long-term treatment of Plantar Fasciitis is a combination of daily exercises and wearing orthotic innersoles. The exercises help make the muscles and tendons in the feet and legs longer and more flexible. In turn this will reduce the tension on the plantar fascia. Click here to see these exercises.

Plantar Fasciitis in the news

Below are listed a number of recent news articles about Plantar Fasciitis and how to find relief.

Tips and Tricks - Plantar Fasciitis

This is an interesting article and video on a New York-based online newspaper with some useful tips and tricks to help ease the pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis.

How to prevent Plantar Fasciitis

This Physiotherapy blog gives some good advice on how to prevent Plantar Fasciitis in the gym.

How to buy the best running shoes

This Fox News article gives some great advice of what to look for when buying new running shoes, and how this can help prevent foot problems such as plantar fasciitis.

Get a leg up on foot problems

This article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper explains a wide rage of foot problems from Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis to stress fractures and Metatarsalgia.

Clog guru keeps devotees at her feet

This article in the LA Times explains how clogs can help prevent foot issues. It's interesting from the point of view that the old-fashioned clog has a built-in arch support, which is missing in most other footwear (or there's not enough support in most shoes). Supporting the arches is the key to preventing and healing Plantar Fasciitis!