What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is caused by straining the part of your foot that connects your heel bone (calcaneum) to your toes. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes. It stretches when weight-bearing (standing), walking and running.
The main symptom is pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch.
This is a common condition and can be experienced by all age ranges, from childhood to more senior years.
Plantar Fasciitis is not treated by the NHS, however our HCPC Registered Podiatrist will be able to help advise on a course of action to limit the condition recurring. Other alternative therapies may help, such as shock wave therapy or massage. Certain lotions and potions with anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties may be recommended.
You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:
- Recently started exercising on hard surfaces
- Exercise with a tight calf or heel (Achilles)
- Overstretch the sole of your foot during exercise
- Recently started doing a lot more walking, running or standing up (it is very common for those working in retail)
- Wear shoes with poor cushioning or support
- Are very overweight
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
The RICE Method
R – Rest
Complete rest is not advisable but it is important that you prevent putting the plantar fascia under strain in the early stages of healing. Whilst sitting, lift your foot a few centimetres off the floor and pull your toes and ankle towards you and then point away. Then make a circle with your ankle joint.
I – Ice
It is important that you wrap ice it in a damp towel to prevent ice burning the skin. Ice should be applied for 20 to 30 minutes every two hours. Only use an ice pack on areas that have normal skin sensation, i.e., where you can feel hot and cold. Do not apply ice over an open wound. Do not apply an ice pack to an area that has poor circulation. During ice application check the skin every five minutes and discontinue its use if the area becomes white, blue or blotchy or the area becomes excessively painful, numb or tingles.
C – Compression
If you have been given a tubigrip foot bandage to wear to support the arch, it is important this is removed if you develop any signs of poor circulation. Signs of poor circulation include pins and needles or numbness. Compression bandaging for plantar fasciitis should be removed before you go to sleep.
E – Elevation
The ankle should be elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible, as this will help to reduce and prevent swelling.
Further and Preventative Advice
- Never go bare foot in the house. Keep a pair of trainers, or house shoes with support, by your bedside. Shock absorption is needed every time you stand
- Always wear wide comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole. Podiatrists do not recommend high heels, tight pointy shoes, flip-flops or backless slippers
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Use soft insoles or heel pads in your shoes · Regular gentle stretching exercises
- Take part in exercises that do not put pressure on your feet, such as swimming
- If you experience a flare-up when away from the home, try alleviating the pain with a can of ice cold drink rolled under the foot.
- Take Paracetamol, as and when required, for the pain
Will it return?
Once the fascia is torn, this makes you more susceptible to having another flare-up. The fascia does not have a good blood supply and, therefore, does not heal in the same way that a bone or
muscle will. Patients may need to manage repetitive flare-ups, therefore by adopting preventative advice, it could minimise the frequency of it returning.
What is the difference between Plantar Fasciitis and Plantar Fasciosis?
Fasciosis is caused by a degenerative process of the fascia and is, therefore, less common in children.