Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a flat band of fascial tissue connecting your heel bone (calcaneus) to your toes that supports the arch of your foot.

What are the Most Common Complaint from Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Pain to your heel when getting out of bed.
  • Pain to your heel when standing after prolonged sitting.
  • Tenderness to touch where the heel meets the arch of the foot.
  • Pain that worsens at the start of a walk but lessens after several minutes.
  • Pain that worsens when walking long distances.

Who are Most at Risk for Developing Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Middle aged people
  • Those who are overweight
  • Those with tight calves
  • People who spend a long time on their feet
  • Those who select inappropriate shoe wear

The Five Best Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Stretch your calves and plantar fascia.
  2. Wear shoes appropriate for your foot type. If you have high arches that do not collapse when you walk, your feet are likely rigid so shoes with excessive cushion are most beneficial. If you have flat feet or an arch that collapses when you bear weight, you most likely have a flexible foot and need a shoe with stability to control your excessive pronation. Often, an over the counter orthotic to control a flexible foot will be beneficial. Ask a knowledgeable shoe salesman how your foot functions and take advantage of shoe stores that have the capacity to videotape you walking or running to better suggest appropriate shoes.
  3. Before getting out of bed, stretch your calves (pull your toes toward your nose) to lessen the discomfort when you stand on your feet.
  4. Tape your heel. There are several ways to tape. Check with your medical professional for more information.
  5. Use a night splint to allow gentle stretching throughout the night.

If you cannot manage your symptoms; then scheduling a consultation with a physical therapist might be a good starting point. You should expect a full assessment to include not only an anatomical evaluation of the foot and ankle but a more global evaluation to determine if other faults may be the source of the problem. Treatment may include manual therapy, taping, videotaped gait analysis, strengthening, flexibility exercises, modalities, and possibly over the counter or custom orthotics depending on what the evaluation dictates.
The good news is that the prognosis for full recovery is positive but the average recovery time is about 10 months.