September 29, 2023 4 min read
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, especially in individuals who engage in activities that put stress on the feet, such as running or jumping. It can also be caused by factors such as overuse, tight calf muscles, obesity, high arches, or flat feet.
Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the bottom of the foot, especially near the heel, and stiffness or tightness in the arch of the foot. The pain is often worse in the morning or after long periods of rest and may improve with activity but worsen again after prolonged standing or walking.
With Plantar Fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.
Treatment and Prevention
The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia.
Pronation of the foot can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis in several ways. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when the plantar fascia, a think band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed and painful.
Excessive pronation can cause the plantar fascia to stretch and elongate beyond its normal range of motion, which can put additional stress and strain on the tissue. This can lead to micro-tears in the fascia and the development of inflammation and pain.
Pronation can also alter the way weight is distributed across the foot, which can cause increased pressure and stress on certain areas of the plantar fascia. This can lead to localized pain and inflammation at the attachment point of the heel bone as well as throughout the arch of the foot.
Plantar Fasciitis treatments pronated foot compared to supinated foot
It is important to understand an individual suffering from plantar fasciitis with a pronated foot compared to an individual with a supinated foot, will have different experiences on how to resolve their foot discomfort.
Individuals with excessive pronation may benefit from exercises and stretches to strengthen the foot and ankle while wearing supportive shoes or orthotics to help correct pronation. These types of supportive shoes and orthotics are often referred to with the term stability as they stabilize the arch from flattening out.
Individuals with excessive supination may benefit from footwear with good shock absorption and cushioning as well as an increased heel height. The increased heel height shortens the Achilles tendon and calf muscles, reducing pull along the fascia.
Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort, cushion the heel, and shorten muscles ligaments and tendons allowing the healing process to begin.
Treatment may also include a combination of self-care measures and professional interventions. Some of these include:
In severe cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary to alleviate pain and inflammation. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. You should always speak with a healthcare provider before staring any new exercise program or stretching routine.
Is your plantar fasciitis a heel spur?
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are often associated with each other, but they are not the same condition. A heel spur is a bony growth that develops on the heel bone, whereas plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and painful.
However, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can occur together, and the presence of a heel spur may exacerbate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia can become irritated and inflamed where it attached to the heel bone, leading to pain and discomfort. Heel spurs can also cause pain by pressing on the surrounding soft tissues and nerves.
It is important to note that not all individuals with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, and not all individuals with heel spurs experience plantar fasciitis symptoms. Treatment for both conditions may include similar interventions, such as stretching exercises, footwear modifications, and medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a heel spur or release tension on the plantar fascia.