What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Heel pain is often the result of straining your plantar fasciitis, a common injury affecting runners and walkers. But it’s not just those c
Heel pain is often the result of plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is common amongst runners and walkers, but it’s not just those clocking up lots of kms who are most likely to develop this condition. It can affect anyone, but especially people who stand on their feet for prolonged periods, such as nurses, shop assistants and servers.
Heel pain is so common that almost everyone has experienced it at some point or knows someone with plantar fasciitis. Thankfully with a little know-how, it can be avoidable.
Read on to learn more about plantar fasciitis: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a connective tissue that extends from the ligament in your heel bone, along the sole of your foot. The plantar is designed to support your arch, so overstraining it – whether by strenuous exercise, lack of rest, or wearing shoes without support – can cause inflammation, a tear or break down. This results in heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Although it can affect people of any age, it’s more common in middle-aged and older people. A study found that almost 10% of the population in people aged over 50 suffer from plantar-related heel pain.
How can I tell if I have plantar fasciitis?
According to healthdirect, the main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain underneath the heel. You may be suffering from plantar fasciitis if:
- You feel pain under the heel, dull or sharp
- You feel swelling in your mid-heel
- Your foot sole will ache and feel stiff after a long time without movement on your feet
You might notice the pain getting worse, or your foot heel feels more tender, in the morning (right when you take your first step), after standing or sitting down for a long period, or after (not during) intense exercise.
Plantar fasciitis causes
Plantar fasciitis is a common sports injury, with sprinters, joggers, hikers being more prone to chronic heel pain than others. But it’s not just athletes at risk: there are numerous factors that can increase your likelihood of suffering this kind of heel pain.
Some of the common causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Your feet are flat, you have high foot arches or weak foot arch muscles
- Your footwear is not supportive enough, especially if you’re an athlete
- You are on your feet all day long
- You are overweight, or carrying more weight than normal (such as pregnancy), resulting in your feet feeling more strain and being inflamed
Plantar fasciitis treatment
The good news is there are several steps you can take to help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis and heal your foot. Some of the most effective plantar fasciitis treatments include:
- Resting: While you’re recovering, stick to activities that are less strenuous on your heel such as swimming and yoga.
- Compression: Compression sleeves will help reduce swelling and pain in the heel and arch area, which aids in tissue repair.
- Stretching: Stretching can help improve mobility, promote blood flow and reduce pain.
- Investing in orthotic support: Insoles and arch support thongs for plantar fasciitis help cushion your step, reducing the impact on your inflamed tissue and relieving pain. Orthotics can also correct poor foot biomechanics to reduce the likelihood of plantar fasciitis returning.
If you’re looking to avoid or treat the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, our insoles, socks and arch support thongs are designed by top Australian podiatrists to support your feet in the best way possible.