The plantar fascia is connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. It may look like a series of fat rubber bands, but it's made of collagen, a rigid protein that's not very stretchy. Plantar fasciitis is known as pain on the under part of the foot that can cause sufferers a sharp stab or deep ache in the middle of the heel or along the arch. Other signs can be the morning hobble from sudden strain on the bottom of the foot after being in a contracted position overnight. The pain can recur after long spells of sitting, but it tends to fade during a run, once the area is warmed up.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes, which can overload this tissue. The stress of overuse, overpronation, or overused shoes may cause tiny tears in it, causing pain and inflammation, a.k.a. plantar fasciitis.
Common causes of plantar fasciitis tend to strike those who overtrain, neglect to stretch their calf muscles, or overdo hill work and speed-work.
Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by biomechanical flaws, including flat, high-arched feet and a tight Achilles tendon; excessive pronation; sudden increases in training mileage; beginning speed-work; wearing worn running shoes; running on hard surfaces, like asphalt or concrete; or wearing high heels all day before switching into flat running shoes.
Prevention and treatment of plantar fasciitis:
Plantar fasciitis can be a nagging problem, which gets worse and more difficult to treat the longer it's present. To prevent plantar fasciitis, run on soft surfaces, keep mileage increases to less than 10 percent per week, and visit a specialty running shop to make sure you're wearing the proper shoes for your foot type and gait. It's also important to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon.
At the first sign of soreness, massage (roll a golf ball under your foot) and apply ice (roll a frozen bottle of water under your foot). What you wear on your feet when you're not running makes a difference. Arch support is key, and walking around barefoot or in flimsy shoes can delay recovery.
If pain is present for more than three weeks, see a sports podiatrist. Treatments such as orthotics, foot taping, cortisone injections, night splints, and anti-inflammatories decrease symptoms significantly in about 95 percent of sufferers within six weeks. For more stubborn cases, physical therapy may be prescribed; six months of chronic pain may benefit from shock-wave therapy, an FDA-approved plantar-fasciitis treatment.
While it's typical to experience pain in just one foot, massage and stretch both feet. Do it first thing in the morning, and three times during the day.
1. Achilles Tendon Stretch: Stand with your affected foot behind your healthy one. Point the toes of the back foot toward the heel of the front foot, and lean into a wall. Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight, heel firmly planted on the floor. Hold for a count of 10.
2. Plantar Fascia Stretch: Sit down, and place the affected foot across your knee. Using the hand on your affected side, pull your toes back toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. Run your thumb along your foot--you should feel tension. Hold for a count of 10.
3. Plantar Fascia stretch: place the forefoot of the affected foot against a wall while the heel is rested on the ground. Slowly bring the knee closer to the wall until you feel the stretch under the plantar fascia.
4. Calf / Achilles release: foam rolling the calf can be a great way to roll out the fibers of the calf.
If you’re looking for a physio or podiatrist in Brisbane, Fortitude Valley, New Farm and surrounding suburbs the team Physio on Brunswick can help. Call us on 3252 5277 to arrange your appointment or pop in to meet our friendly reception team for assistance.