Foot pain should not be ignored. The feet are the foundation of our entire body that support us during standing, walking and running. They are designed to help reduce pressure and protect the spine, bones and soft tissues from misalignments and damaging shock. A common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, and a diagnosis within 6 weeks of the onset of symptoms is ideal for a fast and successful recovery.
The plantar fascia is a thickened layer of fibrous connective tissue, like a ligament, that originates from the heel, and splits into five bands that insert at each toe joint. The function of the plantar fascia is to provide static support, dynamic shock absorption, and to help maintain the arch of the foot. Pain with plantar fasciitis is usually felt where the plantar fascia inserts on the heel, and can be worse first thing in the morning or after prolonged sitting.
Our feet are complex structures, which is reflected in the diverse range of possible causes of plantar fasciitis. Most cases are due to a bio-mechanical fault that causes abnormal foot pronation (inward roll of the foot) or over pronation. Functional risk factors include tightness and weakness in the calf and small muscles in the foot, tightness of the Achilles tendon, or poor ankle flexibility. Overuse is also a common cause in athletes and active individuals. These risk factors can place strain on the plantar fascia that can cause damage, inflammation and pain.
At BodyTech Physiotherapy our assessments focus on identifying contributing factors to plantar fasciitis, as well as biomechanical issues. Based on the assessment findings an individualized treatment plan will be created. Conservative treatment options include rest, a change in footwear, and bio-mechanical corrections through manual therapy. A stretching program will help to restore flexibility to the tight structures surrounding the arch and ankle, and strengthening will help restore function and prevent re-occurrence of the condition.