Could the pain in your foot be Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue on the base of your foot. It runs from the heel to the ball and helps to support the main arch of the foot in weight bearing.
Pain under the arch of the foot may be caused by Plantar Fasciitis, which is simply an inflammation of the connective tissue of the plantar fascia. Plantar Fasciitis most commonly presents as pain under the heel that can also run up under the arch of the foot and may be accompanied by a feeling of tightness. This pain and tightness can be worse first thing in the morning getting out of bed or when you stand up after a long period of sitting. It might present in one or bothfeet and come on gradually over time without an acute injury.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by overload to the plantar fascia, usually due to inadequate strength in the muscles that support the arch of the foot, poor footwear, or an imbalance in strength and control through the hips, knees and lower limbs. Overload to the plantar fascia can also occur if you have a sudden increase in activity levels, such as:
– Returning to fitness activities after time off
– Adding a second or third training session into your week
– Increasing or taking up running activities
– Joining a gym or starting personal training
– Through jobs that involve a lot of standing or walking
– Or through a change of footwear
How to treat plantar fasciitis?
Increasing muscle strength and addressing tight fascia through the lower limbs is the most important treatment for long term management of plantar fasciitis.
When you visit a Physiotherapist, they may:
- Use manual therapies such as soft tissue work and dry needling to ease pain
- Assess your biomechanics and put together a targeted home exercise program
- Address your footwear and possibly fit orthotics for support
- Use tape to offload the plantar fascia and provide support
- And most importantly suggest how to modify your activities so you can still participate.
To settle the inflammation, the plantar fascia must be gently off-loaded and supported. Cushioned gel supports in shoes can help to support the plantar fascia and massaging the bottom of the feet with ice or a frozen drink bottle can provide short term relief from pain. For further advice about home management strategies for plantar fascia, you can watch Tom’s video here.
Working with a Physiotherapist to improve your lower limb and foot strength so you are working with correct biomechanics and control, will help with your sport, dance, running and gym activities for years to come.
Make an appointment at one of our clinics in Payneham, Mile End or Mount Barker to help you identify the cause of your foot arch pain and get you back to being active as soon as possible!
David Wilson, myPhysioSA Physiotherapist Physiotherapist