The plantar fascia is a strong, relatively inflexible, fibrous ligament band that runs through the bottom of the foot. That band helps to keep the complex arch system of the foot, absorb shock, plays
a role in body balance and in the various phases of gait. The band transmits your weight across the bottom of the foot with each step you take. When the heel of the trailing leg starts to get off the
ground, the band bears tension that is approximately twice the body weight. The tension on the band at this moment is even greater if the calf muscles are not flexible enough.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more
prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly
evident when oneâs job requires long hours on the feet. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fascia usually causes pain and stiffness on the bottom of your heel although some people have heel spurs and suffer no symptoms at all. Occasionally, heel pain is also associated with other
medical disorders such as arthritis (inflammation of the joint), bursitis (inflammation of the tissues around the joint). Those who have symptoms may experience âFirst stepâ pain (stone bruise
sensation) after getting out of bed or sitting for a period of time. Pain after driving. Pain on the bottom of your heel. Deep aching pain. Pain can be worse when barefoot.
Physical examination is the best way to determine if you have plantar fasciitis. Your doctor examines the affected area to determine if plantar fasciitis is the cause of your pain. The doctor may
also examine you while you are sitting, standing, and walking. It is important to discuss your daily routine with your doctor. An occupation in which you stand for long periods of time may cause
plantar fasciitis. An X-ray may reveal a heel spur. The actual heel spur is not painful. The presence of a heel spur suggests that the plantar fascia has been pulled and stretched excessively for a
long period of time, sometimes months or years. If you have plantar fasciitis, you may or may not have a heel spur. Even if your plantar fasciitis becomes less bothersome, the heel spur will
Non Surgical Treatment
Cut back on walking, running or athletic weight bearing activities. Try the recommended stretches above. Shoes with a good arch support and heel cushioning or over-the-counter orthotics may help.
Icing the area of pain or taking a short course of anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help with pain. If treatments do not help, a doctor can suggest other
In cases that do not respond to any conservative treatment, surgical release of the plantar fascia may be considered. Plantar fasciotomy may be performed using open, endoscopic or radiofrequency
lesioning techniques. Overall, the success rate of surgical release is 70 to 90 percent in patients with plantar fasciitis. Potential risk factors include flattening of the longitudinal arch and heel
hypoesthesia as well as the potential complications associated with rupture of the plantar fascia and complications related to anesthesia.
Calf stretch. Lean forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. To stretch the calf muscles and the heel cord, push your
hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion. Hold the position for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. A strong pull in the calf should be felt during the stretch.
Plantar fascia stretch. This stretch is performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you
in a controlled fashion. If it is difficult to reach your foot, wrap a towel around your big toe to help pull your toes toward you. Place your other hand along the plantar fascia. The fascia should
feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is best done in the morning before standing or