Plantar fasciitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot between the heel and toes.
This inflammation can be a very painful condition, lasting months and even longer depending on treatment received. Most people suffer pain in the soles of their feet after getting out of bed first thing in the morning.
What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?
Symptoms will depend on the severity of the condition but most people complain of pain under the heel. There is also likely to be a feeling of tightness or dull ache along the sole of your foot, particularly first thing in the morning after getting out of bed and placing your full weight on the foot.
The foot pain is also likely to worsen after long periods of sitting, standing or after exercising. This is due to either the lack of weight on the foot meaning the tissue is able to revert to a more contracted state or excessive strain placed on the tissue after prolonged use.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
While there is no one-size-fits-all reason for plantar fasciitis some people can be more prone to its symptoms, it can be more likely to occur in people who:
Walk in an unusual way such as rolling the feet inwards or outwards, or with a limp
Are overweight or obese, or have recently gained a lot of weight such as during pregnancy
Wear poorly designed or fitted footwear (for example high heels)
Have flat feet
Stand, run or jump on hard surfaces for long periods of time, particularly if this is unusual behaviour
Have injured their feet in some way, such as a stress fracture to one of the metatarsal bones.
6 Tips To Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis At Home
Below are 6 classic tips to help ease the pain and resolve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis at home.
Ice It. While any icepack will do, freezing a plastic bottle full of water is a great at-home remedy. Place the frozen bottle on the floor and roll the foot backwards and forwards over it to ease the inflammation, this is especially good in the evening.
Stretch And Strengthen. Stretching out your calf muscles, foot muscles and buttock muscles can be useful in correction and also prevention, along with stretching the Achilles Tendon and other leg muscles on a daily basis.
Massage It. Using a tennis ball or similar roll the ball under the sole of your foot, this releases the tension in the plantar fascia and stretches out the foot.
Warm It Up. Before commencing strenuous exercise warming the foot can assist in releasing the plantar fascia.
Choose Sensible Footwear. Wearing comfortable supportive footwear is a must when suffering from plantar fasciitis, this means no bare feet and no high heels!
Modify. Ask yourself a few questions to try to isolate why this condition has arisen now and see if you can modify your behaviour. For example; Why does only the right foot hurt? What have I done differently lately? Am I standing/walking for excessive periods?
Treating The Underlying Cause Of Plantar Fasciitis
While all of the above at-home remedies are useful in managing your plantar fasciitis temporarily, working towards correcting the root cause of the plantar fasciitis is the most important part of your recovery in order to prevent it reoccurring or becoming worse.
There are a number of options available to you when seeking professional treatment for plantar fasciitis, these can be used individually or in conjunction with each other.
Osteopathic Treatment.Osteopaths are trained in addressing the underlying cause of the inflammation. They will consider the big picture and look at physical factors including restricted ankle movement, tight calf muscles and a mal-aligned spine as well as lifestyle factors such as weight gain, repetitive overuse or inappropriate footwear.
Podiatry. As health professionals who specialise in treating the feet, podiatrists are a great addition to your treatment plan. A Podiatrist is able to prescribe orthotics, or arch supports which may be required if you are unable to modify the behaviour that is aggravating the plantar fasciitis.
General Medical. Your GP or doctor is a good port of call if the pain has reached levels where is may be impacting your regular daily activities. Doctors are able to prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which can help to reduce inflammation and pain levels temporarily aiding in the process of healing. Doctors may also offer steroid injections, physical therapy options and surgery.
Physiotherapy. A physical therapist is able to advise you on stretches, exercises and variations on daily activities that may assist with plantar fasciitis symptoms and prevention.
Need help with heel or foot pain? See your local Osteopath Lorraine at Better Health Osteopathy and get back to your everyday life sooner.
Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health, and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible.