Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects the heel bone to the toes. It helps support the arch of the foot. If you constantly strain your plantar fascia it can cause tiny tears in the ligament resulting in inflammation leading to pain and irritation.
Pain is the main indication of plantar fasciitis. This pain can be anywhere on the underside of your heel and is frequently one spot that is tender to touch, often about 4cm forward from your heel. The pain is often at its worst when you take your first steps in the morning or after extended periods of rest where no weight is placed on your feet.
The common causes of plantar fasciitis are:
- Your feet roll inward too much when you walk (excessive pronation).
- You have high arches or flat feet.
- You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- You are overweight.
- You wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
- You have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.
At Mint Foot Care, we can diagnose plantar fasciitis by taking a thorough history, performing a biomechanical assessment and video gait analysis. Referral for X-rays and diagnostic ultrasound maybe required to rule out other possible causes of heel pain.
Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:
- Rest and Ice – keeping off the foot and reducing activity prevents further injury and encourages healing. Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling and symptoms.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication – help reduce the pain and inflammation such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Footwear recommendations.
- Custom made orthotic therapy – orthotics may be prescribed to address any biomechanical factors such as over pronation.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Ultrasound therapy.
- Dry Needling.