What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is not new to many people. The plantar fascia supports and wraps around the ligaments and tendons to absorb shock and impact, and also serves to stabilise the arch of the foot.
As a result, the plantar fascia is subjected to varying degrees of traction and tension daily. This, together with risk factors such as pronated feet, tight calf muscles, sudden increases in exercise level, etc., can result in excess traction on the plantar fascia, causing microscopic tears in the plantar fascia where it adheres to the calcaneus. Over time, plantar fasciitis will develop and it results in pain at the bottom of the heel.
Plantar fasciitis is often associated with bone spurs, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not the main causes of heel pain. Bone spurs tend to grow into the space in order to increase contact with the tissue and reattach the torn and injured tissue. The presence of a bone spur only means that other problems (such as plantar fasciitis) have developed in that area, but not that the bone spur has hit the tissue and caused the pain.
- Foot malalignment (e.g. flat feet, pronated feet, high arches): Increased traction on the plantar fascia during walking
- Tight calf muscles: Increased pressure on the arch of the foot and overstretched the plantar fascia during walking
- Wearing inappropriate footwear: E.g. thin-soled shoes
- Sudden increase in exercise level
- Frequent walking and standing
- Rapid weight gain
- Weather changes
Heel pain is practically extreme with the first step out of bed in the morning or after prolonged sitting, the pain is felt on the medial side of the heel. It gradually subsides after a short walk. However, the pain may come back on prolonged walking.
- Custom-made foot orthoses/ sandals: Effectively corrects forefoot and heel malalignment, reduces the tension on the plantar fascia and alleviates heel pain.
- Stable heel counter: Stabilises the heel and reduces the effects of heel valgus. The outsole should not be too thin and should be firm enough to reduce excessive tension on the plantar fascia.
- Stretching the Achilles tendon: Use a tendon stretcher (commonly known as a stretching board) or a foot roller to stretch the calf and plantar fascia to release the plantar fascia.
- Nighttime stretching: Use the night splint while sleeping to reduce morning pain.
Heel pain with the first step out of bed in the morning? Beware of plantar fasciitis
Heel pain when waking up and getting out of bed! Plantar Fasciitis Self-Treatment