What is Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis affects the plantar fascia, a thick ligament that runs under the foot from the toes to the heel bone. This ligament is designed to assist with  shock-absorption and help support the arch of the foot. However, unlike muscle tissue, the plantar fascia is not very elastic so it isn’t very stretchy. This can create a problem when too much strain is placed on the plantar fascia. When overloaded, the plantar fascia, unable to adequately stretch to meet demands can start to develop micro-tears and pull away from the heel. This can result in pain, inflammation and irritation under the heel and even in the arch of the foot.

What are the symptoms?

Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) is most frequently experienced underneath the front or middle of the heel.

Plantar fasciitis is typically more painful after you have been resting your foot, e.g. in the morning when you get out of bed or after you have been sitting for a longer period of time. This can be simply put down to the fact that rest will cause our ligaments and muscles to tighten and shorten. Aside from pain in the heel other symptoms can include a mild swelling under the heel. 

What are the main causes of heel pain?

There are a number of possible causes of heel pain and they frequently vary between individuals. Some of the possible contributing factors can include:

  1. Overuse: e.g. If you are playing a lot of sport; walking or standing for long periods; or running.
  2. Age: Muscles become weaker and ligaments become tighter as we age. Meaning that as you get older your feet can become more prone to foot problems.
  3. Weight gain: It’s unfortunate, but weight gain can play a role in foot problems. Any excess weight can create pressure on your muscles and ligaments which can later have painful consequences.  
  4. Unsupportive footwear/ walking barefoot: Wearing incorrect footwear means your foot is unsupported and leaves the possibility open for you to eventually have foot pain. If you choose not to wear shoes you can also add extra pressure to your feet, especially on hard surfaces such as tiles or concrete.
  5. Overpronation of the foot: As the foot rolls in excessively, the arch is made lower and the plantar fascia is put under immense tension that can cause micro-tearing in the plantar fascia.

If you think you have plantar fasciitis or want to learn a little more contact Instep Podiatry Brisbane today for an obligation free chat!

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