Plantar Fasciitis is the Latin term for "inflammation of the plantar fascia". The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous ligament that runs under the foot from the heel bone to the toes. It forms the
arch of the foot and functions as our natural shock-absorbing mechanism. Unlike muscle tissue, the plantar fascia is not very elastic and therefore is very limited in its capacity to stretch or
elongate. Herein lies the problem, when too much traction is placed on the plantar fascia (for various reasons) micro-tearing will occur, resulting in irritation, inflammation and pain. Plantar
Fasciitis usually causes pain under the heel. However some people may experience pain under the arch of the foot. Both heel pain and arch discomfort are related to Plantar Fasciitis, with heel pain
being far more common than arch pain.
When some people stand/walk/run/jump their own anatomy in their ankle joint is not âsturdyâ enough to cope with the needed stabilisation of their ankle joint when they are weight bearing. So,
their ankle rotates to find a point of stability. By the shin twisting in and the ankle rotating downwards to the inside (along with your body weight, the power of some muscles, and of course,
gravity) a huge amount of stress is applied to the plantar fascia until it is stressed beyond itâs normal limits and it starts to âtighten upâ. It is this tightening up of the plantar fascia
under this stress that causes the damage that in turn leads to painâ¦eventually.
Plantar fasciitis and heel spur pain usually begins in the bottom of the heel, and frequently radiates into the arch. At times, however, the pain may be felt only in the arch. The pain is most
intense when first standing, after any period of rest. Most people with this problem experience their greatest pain in the morning, with the first few steps after sleeping. After several minutes of
walking, the pain usually becomes less intense and may disappear completely, only to return later with prolonged walking or standing. If a nerve is irritated due to the swollen plantar fascia, this
pain may radiate into the ankle. In the early stages of Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs, the pain will usually subside quickly with getting off of the foot and resting. As the disease progresses, it
may take longer periods of time for the pain to subside.
During the physical exam, your doctor checks for points of tenderness in your foot. The location of your pain can help determine its cause. Usually no tests are necessary. The diagnosis is made based
on the history and physical examination. Occasionally your doctor may suggest an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make sure your pain isn't being caused by another problem, such as a
stress fracture or a pinched nerve. Sometimes an X-ray shows a spur of bone projecting forward from the heel bone. In the past, these bone spurs were often blamed for heel pain and removed
surgically. But many people who have bone spurs on their heels have no heel pain.
Non Surgical Treatment
Careful attention to footwear is critical. Every effort should be made to wear comfortable shoes with proper arch support, fostering proper foot posture. Should arch supports prove insufficient, an
orthotic shoe should be considered. Fortunately, most cases of plantar fasciitis respond well to non-operative treatment. Recovery times however vary enormously from one athlete to another, depending
on age, overall health and physical condition as well as severity of injury. A broad period between 6 weeks and 6 months is usually sufficient for proper healing. Additionally, the mode of treatment
must be flexible depending on the details of a particular athleteâs injury. Methods that prove successful in one patient, may not improve the injury in another. Early treatment typically includes
the use of anti-inflammatory medication, icing, stretching activities, and heel inserts and splints. Cortisone injections may be necessary to achieve satisfactory healing and retard inflammation. In
later stages of the rehabilitation process, typically after the first week, ice should be discontinued and replaced with heat and massage.
Surgery for plantar fasciitis can be very successful in the right patients. While there are potential complications, about 70-80% of patients will find relief after plantar fascia release surgery.
This may not be perfect, but if plantar fasciitis has been slowing you down for a year or more, it may well be worth these potential risks of surgery. New surgical techniques allow surgery to release
the plantar fascia to be performed through small incisions using a tiny camera to locate and cut the plantar fascia. This procedure is called an endoscopic plantar fascia release. Some surgeons are
concerned that the endoscopic plantar fascia release procedure increases the risk of damage to the small nerves of the foot. While there is no definitive answer that this endoscopic plantar fascia
release is better or worse than a traditional plantar fascia release, most surgeons still prefer the traditional approach.
More than with most sports injuries, a little bit of prevention can go a long way toward keeping you free from plantar fasciitis. Here are some tips to follow. Wear supportive shoes that fit you
well. When your shoes start to show wear and can no longer give your feet the support they need, it's time to get a new pair. Runners should stop using their old shoes after about 500 miles of use.
Have a trained professional at a specialty running store help you find the right pair for your foot type, and then keep your shoes tied and snug when you wear them. Stay in good shape. By keeping
your weight in check, you'll reduce the amount of stress on your feet. Stretch your calves and feet before you exercise or play a sport. Ask an athletic trainer or sports medicine specialist to show
you some dynamic stretching exercises. Start any new activity or exercise slowly and increase the duration and intensity of the activity gradually. Don't go out and try to run 10 miles the first time
you go for a jog. Build up to that level of exercise gradually. Talk to your doctor about getting heel pads, custom shoe inserts, or orthotics to put in your shoes. Foot supports can help cushion
your feet and distribute your weight more evenly. This is especially true for people with high arches or flat feet. Your doctor will be able to tell you if shoe inserts and supports might lower your
chances of heel injury.