The term Plantar Fasciitis relates to foot pain around the base (plantar side) of the foot and in close proximity to where a band of Fascia span the length of the arch. Most commonly the pain is (A) in front of heel bone but in some cases it can also be felt further forward and closer to mid-foot (B).
A majority of people experiencing this issue describe the pain as being most uncomfortable first thing in the morning and that the pain reduces during the day. The reason for this is that the the fascia soft tissue’s are tight and even dehydrated from the nights sleep and the pain dissipates as the elasticity improves with movement and re-hydrating.
To understand the injury better it helps to understand a bit about feet. In simple terms your feet do two really important things;
1) Feet provide the most proprioception of anywhere on your body. Proprioception is the subconscious feedback and information your body requires for balance and co-ordination. A great example of proprioception is to stand in the isle of the train with your arms crossed while it rattle down the tracks. You feel completely off balance and need to seriously concentrate not to fall over. This is an example of limited proprioception. Next you uncross your arms and with the pointer finger of one hand touch the wall of the carriage only and immediately notice a significant increase in your balance and awareness of what movements are going on around you.
Feet are your main connection to the earth and they provides us with this awareness.
2) Feet are shock absorbers and can easily deal with the impact of walking, running and jumping through a clever function called Pronation. Pronation is a pretty common term in these days with shoe manufactures referring to ‘Pronation Control’ and others similar phrases to describe the level of support in a shoe. A pronating foot is one that roles inwards and collapses the arch somewhat when walking and running. Approx 80% of the population have a pronating foot type. The other 20% of foot types are either ‘Supinated’ where the foot actually roles outwards, or ‘Neutral’ where the foot motion neither roles inwards or outwards.
To enable your feet to perform these roles of awareness and shock-absorption they are complex in design, made up of a multitude of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. It is the Fascia that bring and elasticised component to the foot and assist with slowing down the arch collapse and then rebounding and assisting the arch to return to its most optimal shape.
Overloading the fascia causes it to become weak and strained and the section of fascia closest to the heel, where it attaches to the bone is where the discomfort generally begins. The most common way to overload the fascia and begin the onset of these issues is through over-pronating the foot, and how does this happen?
Some reason could be that;
• you have a foot type and foot shape that naturally pronates more than what is ideal. Our bodies are very tolerant of wear and tear and Plantar Fasciitis symptoms may only begin presenting later in life as those tolerances wear thin.
• People with a normal degree of foot pronation can experience these symptoms through incorrect footwear choices that don’t provide enough support and cushioning. Finding suitable footwear for everyday wear and recreation can become difficult when fashion, branding and marketing hype take priority.
• Unfortunately even those who have normal feet and wear the correct footwear can occasionally encounter these symptoms. This is often due to over-use or over-training and not giving the body enough time to recover.
What Footpro solutions and treatments are available for Plantar Fasciitis?
• Custom Moulded semi-rigid insoles. Semi-Rigid Custom insoles immediately reduce the tension and stress on the plantar fascia by supporting the arch. The Semi-rigid and flexible materials used in Footpro custom insoles not only provide the support required to relax the foot but also allow a suitable level of natural foot motion due to the more cushioned and higher rebound materials. Long term the insoles will assist the foot become stronger through this control degree of insoles flexibility.
• Get advice on correct footwear for sport, recreation and everyday use. From a running perspective there is a range of running shoes available today that suit all levels of support and cushioning. The tricky part is understanding what type of foot you have and to do this you a require dynamic gait analysis. Whatever you do don’t self assess and definitely do not place any emphasis on what you feet are doing while you are standing still.
• Calf and Achilles stretching exercises and advice.
• Heel Lifts
Other treatments include;
- Rest from weight bearing activities
- Corticosteroid injection
- Rolling around an object under foot
- Night splints
- Strengthening exercises for the medial arch
- Taping using reins and anchor technique can give rapid relief