Feet are fascinating parts of our body. Did you realise that?

25% of all the bones in the human body are located in the feet. There are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles just in the foot. When running, the pressure on the foot can be as much as four times the runner’s weight.

With so many parts and processes it’s not surprising that feet can develop issues. One very common condition we see is Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Fasciitis as it is commonly called, is pain felt at the bottom of the heel often through to the ball of the foot. This pain can be very debilitating at times and greatly restrict your life.

What causes it?

The Plantar Fascia (connective tissue) attaches to the bottom of your heel bone and into the ball of your foot.  It acts like a trampoline to the arch of your foot giving it flexibility under load while still maintaining integrity of the arch. It is critical to your foot stability, especially when running.

When this very strong tissue gets over worked (which isn’t hard considering how hard our walkways are, the extensive daily usage of our feet and our foot neglect) that little band of tissues undergoes much stress resulting in inflammation/pain of the heel bone which often result in inflammation of the fascia of the foot. We only notice them when they hurt.

What has occurred?

There are many reasons for the often sudden change in your foot condition.

  1. Increase foot load – can be due to increased body weight, exercise, poor foot mechanics (flat feet), foot or calf muscular tension.
  2. Poor shock absorption -insufficient footwear, hard walking surfaces, poor foot mechanics
  3. Mechanical dysfunction of the lower limb – pelvic imbalances can load body weight down one leg, knee or ankle complaints can throw weight down one leg or result in rigid joints. Rigid joint decrease function of gait resulting in poor limb function and strain, muscular imbalances can alter gait.

(Note: Whilst plantar fasciitis is primarily an issue of excess mechanical strain, it is sometimes found in certain pathological inflammatory conditions.)

We are all unique individuals and thus a professional assessment is vital to determine the reasons for your pain.

What can I do to treat this condition?

Treatment is dependent on the cause which is why a correct diagnosis is vital. Once the cause is determined the right professional can assist you with your care. Because there are so many variables it’s important to approach this condition with an integrated focus which may require the assistance of a Podiatrist, Dietitian, Physiotherapist or Osteopath.

Basically treatment would involve:

  • Removal of: shoes, walkway, daily habits that aggravate or cause the pain.
  • Rest: minimizing time spent weight bearing, walking or exercising will decrease the tension on the plantar fascia (Ice for acute injuries may be helpful)
  • Therapy: any lower limb joint dysfunction, muscular imbalance needs to be addressed. Hypertonic calf muscles, dysfunctional ankle joint, lower limp or LB injures can greatly assist in better body function and better foot mechanics.
  • Supports: orthotics, more supportive footwear, taping, stretches of the lower limb and hydration can all reduce the pressure and inflammation on the plantar fascia.

Don’t leave it too late. The longer you put up with the pain the harder it can be to break the cycle of pain you feel.  Seek help for you condition from a qualified team of integrated professionals today.

Learn more about ATUNE Podiatry Here.

Written by Simon Ashley