Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes, and supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated or inflamed. Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or after sitting for a long time.
Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people, but also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, such as athletes, soldiers, or even certain occupational fields. It can happen in one foot or both feet, and is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. This repetitive tearing can lead to pain and swelling, and is more likely to happen if:
- your feet roll inward too much when you walk
- you have either high arches or flat feet
- you walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces
- you have tight achilles tendons or calf muscles
Common, successful treatment methods include:
- soft tissue release and the appropriate exercises for the plantar fascia and the achilles tendons
- custom orthotics can support the mechanics of the foot and arch to prevent irritation of the plantar fascia
- night splints: Exercise and physiotherapy alone result in ~55% recovery rate for patients with plantar fasciitis. With the addition of a night splint, that recovery rate increases to over 85%. The splint keeps the bottom of the foot from tightening up overnight and eventually leads to less morning stiffness with your first steps.
- shockwave therapy in stubborn cases of plantar fasciitis can be a very effective addition to your treatment plan
For further information regarding treatments and splints that are effective in combating plantar fasciitis, please contact the Orthopaedic Sport Institute at (705) 467-0701 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a consultation with one of our friendly healthcare professionals.
Darryl Novotny, BScPT, Registered Physiotherapist
Dean Woodcock, (C) R.T.O c, Certified Pedorthist