Plantar fasciitis can be a nagging pain that negatively impacts most of your daily life activities. Some literature indicates that plantar fasciitis mostly affects adults between the ages of 25 and 65 years old. Research shows that it occurs in about 10% of the general population and up to 22% in the population of runners with the average episode lasting up to 6 months. So, rest assured, you are not alone if you suffer from this type of heel pain.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It usually occurs from overuse and overstretching of the plantar fascia at the calcaneal tuberosity (heel bone). This results in repetitive strain causing micro-tears and eventually leads to heel pain. Due to its biomechanics and support structure, any activity that suddenly stretches the plantar fascia such as walking barefoot, stair climbing, or toe walking can trigger the pain. For many people, the worst pain is felt when taking their first steps of the day or after a long period of inactivity while for others, the pain is worst after doing activities like running or casually walking.
To understand it better, let’s review the anatomy of the foot. Underneath your foot, from the base of your toes to your heel bone is a fibrous connective tissue called the “plantar fascia”. This fascia provides critical stability to your foot and plays an important role in providing support for the arch of your foot. It also acts as a shock absorber with each step you take. With all of the physical activity trackers out there encouraging you to take 10,000 steps per day, it is easy to see why the plantar fascia is an important part of the biomechanics of the foot. Let’s explore causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis and when you should seek physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis.
Physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis
The first step is to minimize or modify aggravating activities to temporarily reduce the load on your plantar fascia. Ice will also be helpful to reduce inflammation. One easy way to apply ice to the area is to freeze a water bottle and roll your foot back and forth over it. Other physiotherapy techniques may include soft tissue mobilization, dry needling of the calf, plantar fascia stretching, progressive overload strengthening and even looking into shoe inserts or custom orthotics. Once your plantar fasciitis starts to subside, strength training is important to optimize recovery and prevent reoccurrence.
For more information or other forms of treatment, contact your Reach physiotherapist in Edmonton!