Pain is usually worse first thing in the morning as the fascia tightens up overnight. After a few minutes it eases as the foot gets warmed up. As the condition becomes more severe the pain can get worse throughout the day if activity continues.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is very tight calf muscles which leads to prolonged and / or high velocity pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia leading to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it looses flexibility and strength.
Plantar fasciitis 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.
Other causes include high arch or low arch feet (pes cavus / planus) and other biomechanical abnormalities including oversupination which should be assessed by a podiatrist / physiotherapist / biomechanist/athletic therapist.
Excessive walking in footwear which does not provide adequate arch support has been attributed to plantar fasciitis. In addition, overweight individuals are more at risk of developing the condition due to the excess weight impacting on the foot.
Stretching the plantar fascia may be painful but it is an important part of treatment and prevention. Simply reducing pain and inflammation alone is unlikely to result in long term recovery. The plantar fascia tightens up making the origin at the heel more susceptible to stress.
Stand facing a wall or post with one foot forward and toes up on the edge of a wall. Keeping the front leg straight, lean forwards until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat stretch
Stand facing a wall or post with one foot forward and toes up on a wall. Bend the front knee and lean forwards until you feel a stretch. This should be a deeper stretch felt into the Achilles tendon. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat stretch.
A good plantar fasciitis taping technique or compression socks specifically for plantar fasciitis can help the foot get the rest it needs by supporting the plantar fascia. Taping or plantar fascia compression socks both allow for physical activity participation as pain is decreased or eliminated because the plantar fascia is protected and supported. Taping should be done by someone with knowledge of how to perform the arch taping techniques.
Apply ice or cold therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation after activity. Cold therapy can be applied regularly until symptoms have resolved.
While the recommendations here are a good starting point for plantar fasciitis injury, it is recommended that you see a healthcare professional (such physician, athletic therapist, massage therapist, etc..) for a complete assessment and treatment recommendations for your injury.
Until next time, stay healthy and keep moving!
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