The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue (collagen) that starts from the heel and inserts into the toes. It supports the arch and provides dynamic shock absorption.
Plantar Fasciitis is an overuse condition where the collagen of the plantar fascia is damaged in the absence of inflammation. This can occur in the arch or heel of the foot. The condition can therefore be more accurately referred to as plantar fasciosis.
Pain is usually of gradual onset and can feel like a sharp stab or deep ache, most commonly in the heel of the foot. It is often worse of a morning (first step pain) and settles down with activity as the area warms up. Pain may be present post-activity and after long periods sitting down.
Patients with very high arches or low arches are at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This can be due to poor shock absorption or increased strain on the plantar fascia respectively. Overtraining, running on hard surfaces, wearing old shoes or tight calf muscles and Achilles tendons may also contribute.
Plantar Fasciitis is a persistent condition which gets worse and more difficult to treat the longer it’s present.
Short-term treatment may consist of the following:
• Avoidance of aggravating activity and running of soft surfaces
• Correctly fitted running shoes
• Avoidance of walking barefoot
• Stretching the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon
• Icing and massaging the foot with a golf ball
Podiatry treatment may consist of:
• Strapping the foot to support the arch
• Cortisone injections
• Night Splints
• Anti-inflammatory medication
Chronic pain for longer than three months may also benefit from:
• Shockwave therapy an FDA approved treatment for Plantar Fasciitis (new to our Port Melbourne location, Bodycare Podiatry)