Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. The Plantar Fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and extending along the sole of the foot towards the five toes. It has been reported that plantar fasciitis occurs in two million Americans a year and 10% of the population over a lifetime.
Plantar fasciitis is traditionally thought to be an inflammatory condition. This is now believed to be incorrect due to the absence of inflammatory cells within the fascia. The cause of pain and dysfunction is now thought to be degeneration of the collagen fibres close to the attachment to the calcaneus (heel bone).
Repetitive movements such as walking or running stretch the plantar fascia. Because it is not very flexible, this can cause small tears in the fascia which leads to inflammation and pain. Other factors such as high arches, fallen arches, or a change in the walking surface contribute to the stress placed on the plantar fascia and heel.
A variety of causes exist for plantar fasciitis. Some of the most common causes include:
- Excessive weight load on the foot due to obesity or prolonged standing
- Mechanical imbalances of the foot
- Osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis
- Sudden increase in body weight (e.g. pregnancy)
- Sudden increase in walking or running
- Tight calf muscles
- Wearing shoes with poor support
Another cause of pain is the shortening of the plantar fascia overnight due to the ankle bending, causing the toes to point towards the ground. The plantar fascia stretches in the morning when you stand. The act of lengthening it causes a great deal of pain.
Commonly associated with long periods of work-related weight bearing, Plantar Fasciitis has many symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Pain on the underside of the heel during the first steps of the day
- Difficulty bending the foot (decreased dorsiflexion of the ankle)
- Increased knee pains, especially for runners
- Under the heel pain at the origin of the fascia attachment
- Pain from pressure on the inside of the heel and sometimes the arch
- Worse conditions lead to pain throughout the day rather than just the morning
- Pain along the outside border of the heel
Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs are common in sports which involve running, dancing, or jumping. Runners who overpronate (feet rolling in or flattening) are particularly at risk as the biomechanics of the foot pronating causes additional stretching of the plantar fascia.
The chiropractors at Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic, in Calgary, offer a variety of treatments to help you get back on your feet without pain. We can tailor your treatment to fit your needs. Find what works best for you:
Shockwave Therapy relieves pain by stimulating growth of new tissue. It has an amazing success rate of 90% for Plantar Fasciitis, according to studies published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research 2003. This effective treatment is available at our Calgary clinic.
By modifying the effects and limiting the duration of inflammation as well as enhancing specific repair and healing processes, Cold Laser Therapy or Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) is consistent in providing pain relief, reducing injury damage and loss of function, in addition to facilitating more rapid repair and stronger healed tissue structures.
Footmaxx™ designs innovative, comfortable orthotics that are a pleasure to wear as they gently reduce problems associated with pressure points, muscle strains, and abnormal forces on the ankles, knees, hips, and feet. Over time, custom orthotics support will bring you relief from fatigue and pain, allowing you to enjoy daily activities comfortably.
Plantar Fasciitis causes many people to experience intense heel pain in the morning, when taking the first steps after getting out of bed. This pain comes from the tightening of the plantar fascia that occurs during sleep. Stretching or massaging the plantar fascia before standing up will help reduce heel pain.
Plantar Fasciitis Foot Stretch
Before sitting up, stretch your foot by flexing it up and down 10 times.
Plantar Fascia – Specific Stretch
Cross your affected foot over the opposite leg, grasp the base of toes, and pull the toes back towards the shin until a stretch in the arch is felt. The stretch is held for 10 seconds and repeated.
Do three sets of 10 repetitions daily for full effects.
After these exercises, put on your shoes (with orthotics inside them) or wear supportive sandals. Do not start the day walking barefoot on hard floors or tiles, or your heel pain will return.