At PHYSIO4ALL, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot and heel pain that we see. Typically pain is most intense with the first few steps after a period of non weightbearing, such as after sleeping or sitting for a long time.
The plantar fascia is a fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the heel bone with the bones at the base of the toes in the sole of the foot. Its function is to provide support for the arch of the foot. When the plantar fascia is placed under increased stress it pulls hard on its attachment to the heel bone and small tears can develop at this point. These tears result in inflammation and pain.
Over-stressing of the plantar fascia can result from anyone of a number of causes. These include increasing the amount of weight-bearing activity, weight gain, tight calf muscles, high or low arches in the foot or poorly fitting worn footwear.
If you think you are experiencing plantar fasciitis a short course of anti-inflammatory medication as well as rest from aggravating activities may reduce your pain. Ensure you wear supportive shoes at all times, and taping or orthotics may help. Ongoing physiotherapy treatment is aimed at gently stretching the plantar fascia and ensuring appropriate mobility around the foot. Your physiotherapist will also advise you on warm-up stretches and exercises to be done.
Plantar fasciitis can be a frustrating condition and may linger indefinitely if not managed properly. Acute symptoms will often reduce quickly but full recovery can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months or more depending on severity and symptom history. Return to sport or activity needs to be graduated to prevent further overload and recurrence.
For an easy exercise to strengthen the plantar fascia, watch the following video: https://www.physio4all.com.au/footexercise-plantarfasciitis1/