The Plantar Fascia is the thick tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes creating the arch on the bottom of the foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed).
Your heel or the bottom of your foot will then hurt when you stand or walk. When the fascia becomes inflamed due to micro-tears, the condition is known as Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes, those that work on their feet a lot, or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet, and not necessarily at the same time.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:
- Your feet roll inward too much when you walk (excessive pronation ).
- You have high arches or flat feet.
- You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- You are overweight.
- You wear shoes that don't fit well or are worn out.
- You have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.
In addition to orthotics and footwear, tools like Night Splints (available at Kintec) to elongate the plantar fascia while you sleep and the Foot Rubz, to massage and break up the scar tissue, are effective and inexpensive treatment options along with calf stretches.
Plantar Fasciitis can become a chronic injury if it is not treated quickly and effectively as soon as the first signs appear. The best solution is to be proactive and preventive by getting fitted with proper supportive footwear (possibly with custom orthotics or insoles), stretching and regularly massaging the bottom of your foot with the Foot Rubz.
If you have any pain in your feet, make sure you come and visit our Fitting Experts at any of our Kintec locations or North Shore Athletics!
For stretching exercises and other treatments on Plantar Fasciitis, download a PDF of our Plantar Fasciitis brochure.
Written by Meredith Cale