Plantar Fasciitis: causes, symptoms and treatment
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. This is the flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toe. It supports the arch in your foot and is important in helping you walk.
The major symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. Some people experience it as a dull pain while others may feel a sharp pain or a burning on the bottom of the foot.
What causes it?
There are a number of factors that can play a part:
If you are overweight you are more at risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis. This is due to the increased pressure on your plantar fascia ligaments. Women who are pregnant may experience Plantar Fasciitis, particularly during late pregnancy.
If you are a long distance runner you may be more likely to develop plantar fascia problems. You are also at risk if you have a very active job such as a postman or a waiter.
If you have foot problems, such as very high arches or very flat feet, you are also at risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis.
How to treat Plantar Fasciitis
Rest your foot as much as possible
Avoid running, excess walking or standing. Gentle walking is fine. Your doctor, podiatrist or physiotherapist should be able to prescribe exercises to help treat Plantar Fasciitis.
Choose sensible shoes
Shoes with cushioned heels and a good arch support are recommended. You should also avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
Heel pads and arch supports
You can buy various pads and shoe inserts to cushion the heel and support the arch of your foot such as Vionic Full-length insoles, Vionic ¾-length insoles or the Orthaheel.
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen will often ease the pain. An ice pack held to the foot for 15 -20 minutes may also help. Alternatively, the NatraCure Plantar Fasciitis Relief Sock uses cold gel packs to help relieve pain. The sock also has a strap that allows you to customise the amount of arch support and fascia relief that you need.