What is Plantar Fasciitis?

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.

Treatment options

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.

Footlogics orthotics are available from selected pharmacies, physiotherapists, and podiatrists around Australia. The product is also available directly from Footlogics (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.

Treatment with 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. (See section below)

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

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

Treatment: orthotic insoles to correct pronation; exercises; ice; rest or reduced activity

Plantar Fasciitis - Planter Fascitis
Recommended orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis:
Footlogics Comfort - $32.95 per pair
Footlogics Casual - $29.95 per pair

Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

Research has shown that some simple daily exercises can assist greatly in the relief of Plantar Fasciitis. Below are the exercises prescribed mostly by podiatrists and physiotherapists in Australia.

IMPORTANT: Stretching exercises should create a pulling feeling, but they should never cause pain! We recommend you do these exercises first thing in the monring and again 2 or 3 times during the day, but you don't need to do them all at once.

If these exercises, combined with wearing an orthotic do not provide any relief from your Plantar Fasciitis pain, you should consult a podiatrist.

After these exercises, put on your shoes, with orthotics inside. Do not start the day walking barefoot on hard floors or tiles, or your heel pain will return.

1) Calf stretch

Tight calf muscles are a major contributing factor to problems in the heels. Flexible calves will assist with reduing the tension on the plantar fascia.

Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch about a step behind your other leg.Keeping your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times

2) Tennis/golf ball exercise

This exercise will help make the Plantar Fascia (ligaments under the foot) more flexible. Usually after sleeping the Plantar Fascia tightens and shortens during the night, causing a sharp pain with your first steps out of bed.

Use a tennis or golf ball (or rolling pin). While seated roll the ball with the arch of your foot back and forth from the heel to the ball of the foot. If this feels okay and doesn't hurt you can progress by doing this exercise while you are standing up. Keep rolling the ball for about 4-5 minutes.

3) Towel stretch

This is an excellent exercise to make the plantar fascia more flexible. Roll a towel and place it under the ball of your foot, holding the towel at both ends. Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times.