Plantar Fasciitis – What Is It And What Can You Do?

Platar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Although it typically affects runners, it is also very common for those who are overweight or wear shoes with inadequate support to suffer from plantar fasciitis. This condition is caused by an inflammation in the tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. This tissue connects your heel bone to your toes. Most plantar fasciitis sufferers experience a stabbing pain that usually occurs when you take the first steps of the day and the pain typically decreases as the day goes on. However, the pain associated with plantar fasciitis may return after long periods of standing or after you stand after having been sat down for an extended period of time. Unlike other causes of heel pain, it’s more likely to be plantar fasciitis if you:

  • have difficulty raising your toes off the floor
  • the pain is at it’s worst when you start walking, whether that is after sleeping or after a period or rest
  • your pain is eased during exercise, but usually returns once you have finished

Easing The Pain At Home

There are many things that you can do to ease the pain caused by plantar fasciitis yourself. Most GP’s will typically advise you to try on the following methods to ease the pain*:

  • keep your foot raised during rest periods as often as possible
  • try to wear wide shoes that have been specifically made with low heel or soft sole
  • paracetamol
  • use gentle stretching exercises that are designed to strengthen the plantar fascia tissue
  • wear soft, supportive orthotic insoles or heel pads in your shoes
  • try and stick to exercises that won’t put too much pressure on your feet, such as swimming
  • apply an ice pack to the affected area

Things To Avoid

The above methods are proven to ease the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, however there are certain things that you should avoid doing as they will likely make the pain worse*. They include:

  •  avoid walking or standing for long periods
  • don’t wear high heels, tight shoes, flip flops or backless slippers
  • avoid walking in barefoot on hard surfaces
  • if possible, don’t take ibuprofen during the first 48 hours

Typical Causes

Your plantar fascia tissue acts like a natural shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot. However, as with anything, over time natural wear and tear can damage the plantar fascia. Over time the plantar fascia tissue will become irritated or inflamed and this will lead to foot/heel pain for the sufferer. However, in many cases of plantar fasciitis , the actual cause of the pain isn’t clear. Despite this, there are sevral recognised risk factors that are known to lead to, or are present in, most cases of plantar fasciitis. These include:

  • Age – this condition is most prevalent in those between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Mechanics of your foot – if you’re flat footed, have a high arch or an abnormal walking pattern you are more at risk
  • Obesity – excess weight places extra stress on the foot, contributing towards plantar fasciitis
  • Exercise – any form of exercise that puts extra stress on your feet, such as long distance running, ballet, aerobics and most forms of dance
  • Occupation – any job where you spend long periods of time walking or standing can also contribute to plantar fasciitis

 How We Can Help You

At Special Footwear and Orthotics, we are experts in our craft. We specialise in creating the finest quality orthotics and custom footwear. We have been helping people who suffer from plantar fasciitis for many years and our orthotics experts have created countless orthotic solutions for people throughout the UK and globally. If you’re not sure how we can help you, why not give our team a ring today on 020 7486 4664 to discuss your requirements.

*advice from the NHS website and is correct at time of publication, for more information on plantar fasciitis from the NHS, click here