The plantar fascia is a thin ligament that connects the front of the foot to the heel. It supports the arch and enables mobility.Sometimes this ligament can be overused and or overstretched and develop minute tears. Repeated use of the damaged ligament results in inflammation and then plantar fasciitis can occur.
A sudden sharp stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel may be the first symptom. Plantar fasciitis is a very common orthopaedic complaint and is often called runner’s heel.
Causes of Plantar fasciitis
There are a number of factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Men can get it but it is more common in women. You’re more likely to get this condition as you get older or if you:
Take up a new form of exercise or increase the intensity of your usual regime suddenly
Are on your feet for several hours each day
Have other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Normally wear high heeled shoes and then switch to flat ones.
Wear foot wear which is worn out with no arch support and thin soles.
Have flat feet or an unusually high arch.
Have legs of different lengths or have an abnormal walk or foot position.
Have tight Achilles tendons
Pain in the bottom of your foot, especially at the front or centre of the heel bone.
Pain that is worse in the morning when getting out of bed or when standing up after a long period of sitting and also when doing exercise especially in non supportive shoes.
Plantar fasciitis is quite easy to diagnose because of the fairly unique symptoms such as pain on getting out of bed which gets better after a few minutes and pain when pressure is applied to a specific area of the foot but not other areas. After taking a history your family doctor can be fairly certain of a diagnosis. Occasionally they may suggest an X-ray to exclude a stress fracture.
The initial treatment is usually conservative. You may be advised to avoid any exercise that makes the pain worse. Further treatment advice can be given by a qualified Podiatrist such as Philip Mann at the Family Medical Centre Albir