Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the thick shock absorbing fibrous tissue under the foot and is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Prolonged loading that exceeds the tissue tolerance causes microtrauma within the fascia leading to irritation and/or inflammation eventually resulting in pain. Plantar fasciitis often arises without obvious cause.
Symptoms– Pain is usually described as stabbing under the sole of the foot or at the heel and is usually worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it.
Risk factors– Being within the age of 40 and 60, participating in certain types of exercise (long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance), having poor foot mechanics or footwear, obesity and certain occupations (individuals who stand on hard ground for extended periods of time can accelerate damage their plantar fascia.
Prevention– Activity/ sports specific exercises, activity modification, general conditioning (strength/ cardiovascular training), wearing goodfootwear/ not wearing “flip flops” can help mitigate the risk of these types of injury.
Treatment Options– Identifying the root cause of the injury will generally guide the treatment plan. Manual release techniques and instrumented assisted soft tissue therapy help to break up scar tissue and can help increase blood flow thus tissue oxygenation increasing the rate of tissue recovery. Acupuncture, chiropractic care and photobiomodulation/laser therapy can also help to promote healing and minimize barriers to recovery. Ensuring that the alignment of the foot, ankle, knee and hip is optimized can also help reduce stress.
For immediate self-care of a sprain, try the R.I.C.E. approach — rest, ice, compression, elevation:
What’s next?- Individuals tend to heal well from these types of injuries but if the initial cause of the injury is not addressed there is a risk that the injury may returns. Continued specific rehabilitation protocols and activity modifications can help decrease the risk of re-injury, as well as, continued maintenance care can also minimize the risk of barriers to recovery (e.g. limited range of motion at surrounding joints/ altered gait following injury).