Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel/foot pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs from the heel of the foot along the sole and into your toes. It is one of the main structures which helps to support the arch in your foot and absorbs a large amount of impact when you stand/walk.
Plantar Fasciitis is when the fascia along the area becomes damaged and inflamed. Often people will experience pain around the heel of the foot. You may also experience a tightness along the sole of your foot, especially in the mornings. Any impact to the area will cause soreness and in bad cases walking will be painful.
TOP TIP – Any medical condition ending in “itis” indicates there is some inflammation present.
How Is Plantar Fasciitis caused?
There are a few main causative factors when looking at Plantar Fasciitis.
- Increased impact – A sudden change in running routine or increased running on firm surfaces causing more pressure through the sole of the foot.
- Incorrect footwear – Running with shoes that do not provide any arch support or are extremely flat can put increased pressure through the plantar fascia.
- Trauma to area – A blunt trauma to the base of the foot or heel can cause damage to the plantar fascia and lead to the build up of inflammation.
- Tightness in the lower leg – A common trait amongst people suffering with plantar fasciitis is tight muscles surrounding the ankle.
- Weakness in the calve/tibialis anterior muscle – Weakness in these 2 muscles can lead to an unstable/lowered arch in the foot. This can then lead to more pressure going through the heel of the foot.
- Running biomechanics – People that run with a hard heel strike are often more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
How Can I Treat Myself If I Think I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
If you have just started to get pain around the heel and believe you have plantar fasciitis the symptoms you can try:
- Alter the form of cardio you complete – replace running with cycling or swimming. This puts less impact through the heel joint.
- Ice around the painful areas 2x a day for 7-8 minutes
- Self massage the plantar fascia area to loosen off the tissue
- Perform exercise in shoes that provide more of a cushion around the heel area
We recommend you complete the daily stretches/exercises shown below.
If you have tried the exercises & completed all of the self treatment at home but your pain is still persisting please contact a professional sports injury specialist. They will advise you on the appropriate approach moving forwards and help aid your recovery.