Anatomy of the Plantar Fascia?
It is a thick connective tissue that is inelastic and covers the underside of the foot. It attaches all the way from the heel to the toes. It effectively is the arch of your foot and can be a major source of pain if it becomes inflamed which is termed plantar fasciitis.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Sudden trauma or repetitive injury causes inflammation of the attachment at the heel. This can cause micro tearing and pain. It is common in athletes who have increased their load suddenly or alternatively because of a genetic predisposition due to biomechanics.
Heel spurs can occur as the bodies response to chronic inflammation. The bony projection may also cause pain.
Plantar fasciitis is commonly worse in the morning because overnight the sustained position causes contraction of the fascia. It is worse with the first few steps of a run or after sitting for a long period and then standing up.
What Will Make You Susceptible?
- Fallen arches or high arches.
- Age of athletes
- Running pattern
- Soft or boggy surface running
- Unsupportive shoes
- Sudden increase in activity
Treatment will include; ultrasound, dry needling, taping, stretching, calf and plantar fascia massage. Home massage with a golf ball or spiky ball can help. Pharmaceutical management also needs to be considered.
Perhaps the most important part of the treatment is the identification of the key factors which have caused the inflammation in the first instance.