What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the clinical term for when the plantar fascia tissue becomes damaged. The plantar fascia is a thick, weblike ligament that runs along underneath the foot, from heel bone to toes.
The largest ligament in the human body, its tough, resilient structure helps it maintain the arch of the foot, absorb shock for the entire leg and stabilise the metatarsal joints during impact with the ground. Although the plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains placed on the feet, sometimes too much pressure can damage or tear these tissues. The body's natural response to such an injury is inflammation, which results in heel pain and stiffness.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:
- recently started exercising on hard surfaces
- exercise with a tight calf or heel
- overstretch the sole of your foot during exercise
- recently started doing a lot more walking, running or standing up
- wear shoes with poor cushioning or support
- are very overweight
What are the symptoms?
Pain could be felt in just one place, but can sometimes be felt along the whole plantar fascia. Symptoms are normally worse in the morning and mostly after, rather than during an activity
The main symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain or tenderness in the heel or arch of the foot
- Pain with initial steps in the morning or after a period of rest
- Walking short distances may improve pain but longer distances may increase the symptoms again
- Pain with sudden stretching of the sole of the foot. This could include going up on your toes or upstairs
While treatments such as foot bracing, strapping and cortisone injections can provide some relief, the best way to actually heal the injury and provide long-lasting improvement is through biologic regenerative treatments such as Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy. Mounting evidence is showing that PRP results in improved outcomes compared to cortisone injections.