Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory disorder of the plantar fasci (connective tissue) on the sole of the foot. This condition is commonly misdiagnosed as heel spurs. A heel spur (growth of bone on the calcaneus or heel bone) will occur generally after having plantar fasciitis for several months if untreated. Initially it is a soft tissue inflammatory disorder and can then progress to a bone disorder. They are generally treated with the same treatment regime.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain on the inside part of the heel with your first few steps once getting out of bed in the morning. It can also occur after periods of sitting and then standing up again during the day. If left untreated the pain will increase throughout the day.
Plantar fasciitis can occur at any age, although it is more common in runners, people who are overweight, pregnant women and people in their 50 to 60 year age group.
The plantar fascii acts like a shock absorbing elastic band, supporting the arch in your foot and aids in the propelling forward motion with every step you take. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause irritation to the fascii, which then causes pain and inflammation.
Common causes of Plantar fasciitis are:
- Age (40 to 60 year age bracket)
- Flat Feet
- Pronated foot type ( a foot that rolls inwards)
- Change in activity (e.g. Climbing ladders)
- Long periods of standing (Can be work related)
How is it treated?
Most people will recover with conservative management/ treatments from their Podiatrist within 3 months.
Most commonly and successful treatments used by Podiatrists:
- Orthotics: An orthotic or arch support will provide support to the plantar fascii and realign the pronated foot or muscles and tendons that are not working correctly in the foot.
- Strethcing exercises: Podiatrist can demonstrate a series of stretching exercises that can help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis.
- Appropriate footwear needs to be worn.
- Ice/ cold packs to the heel and arch area.
- Anti-inflammatory medication
If the above treatments fail, other treatments will be introduced such as night splints, Cortisone injections, shock wave therapy and very last resort is surgical intervention.
If you suffer from pain in the sole of your foot, call Kew Foot Clinic on 03 9853 6877 to make an appointment for the appropriate treatment.