Plantar Fasciitis (PF) is a common problem that causes pain in the heel and sole of the foot. This condition can last anywhere between a week or two, however if left untreated, it can lead to extensive problems that can last months or even years.
The most common symptoms of PF include:
- Shooting pain under the bottom of the heel
- Pain in the arch of the foot
- A tendency for increased pain in the morning
There is no single treatment for plantar fasciitis. However, most clinicians will agree that the most important factor in treating this condition is to stop the condition from getting worse and getting to the root cause of the problem. If the cause is not highlighted early, then the condition is likely to deteriorate – leading to further problems.
PF is often caused by inappropriate footwear. Many people suffer with feet which have a fallen arch and/or feet which over-pronate. This can result in mini tears and derogation to the attachment point beneath the heel. Therefore, by wearing footwear with little to no arch support, it can damage the plantar fascia. Flip flops & Ugg boots are examples of shoes that have very little arch support, thus a contributing factor in triggering the onset of PF.
Women can also be at higher risk of developing PF through wearing heels. Ironically, it is not until women stop wearing heels that the problem usually arises and becomes noticeable. Frequent use of heels can shorten the calf muscles so when new footwear is selected such as flip-flops – over stretching of the fascia can result. This is because the calf muscles become unusually tight which leads to increased pronating of the foot.
Perhaps the best treatment for PF is Physiotherapy. A Physiotherapist will adopt a variety of techniques in order to not only reduce the pain, but to also work against the root cause of the problem to ensure that future instances of injury are minimized. There are other methods of treatment available such as sports massage and acupuncture, however physiotherapy offers a comprehensive form of treatment that is widely successful. Patients can also reduce instances of injury and help strengthening their plantar fascia through simple exercises. However, if the condition is caused through using inappropriate footwear, then the easiest solution is to use shoes with superior arch support.