injury corner - November 22, 2013

How to stop plantar fasciitis

Are you have Suffering from a constant sharp pain and/or tightness around the arch of your foot? If you are then you might be suffering from what is known as plantar fasciitis (PF), which is when the plantar fascia which supports the arch of your foot and connects the heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed or damaged.

Plantar Fasciitis causes foot pain that is typically found around the heel and arch of the foot. This foot pain generally gets worse during activity and in the morning whilst you are just taking your first footsteps of the day.

PF is really common amongst runners and makes up about 10% of all running injuries. However PF isn’t just an injury that runners and athletes get as it also can affect people who do not run or play sport,

-People who work for long periods on their feet often get PF. Standing for long period especially on hard surfaces can cause your bodyweight to cause a build up of pressure underneath the soles of your feet that can cause damage to your foot and especially your plantar fascia!
-PF is quite common in older people too. As we get older the ligaments and tendons in your feet will become weaker and unable to properly support your feet also the mobility in your joints will also become more limited causing extra strain on the Plantar Fascia as a result.
-PF can also develop in people who are overweight as being overweight can cause more pressure on the arches of the feet than normal.

Runners and athletes, however have extra things to worry about when it comes to plantar fasciits because of the extra forces and impacts that are linked with playing sport and running, for example the main causes of PF in athletes and athletes are:

-Persistent shocks weakening the plantar fascia by causing micro tears to develop and becoming inflamed.
-Having tight hamstrings and/or Achilles tendons can cause the plantar fascia to be pulled back causing it to become tight as well leaving it more susceptible to being overstretched.
-Wearing footwaer that does not support your arches properly or positions your foot abnormally such as elevating your heel too much can also lead to PF

More often than not though biomechanical imbalances in the body such as an imbalance in the hips and backs is the main reason why plantar fasciitis develops. The reason why biomechanical imbalances cause plantar fasciits is that they can result in small compensations in your gait which put far more stress on your legs and feet than there should be.


When treating plantar fasciitis it is important to remember that it is an inflammation injury. For treatment to work it is important to find out what the underlining causes of the inflammation are and address them. For the majority of sporting people with PF the cause of the inflammation is because of overuse which can be cured with sufficient resting of the feet, in order to minimize strain on the Plantar Fascia and and allow it to heal properly.

Wear arch support insoles

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by improper biomechanics of the foot. Usually what that means is that the foot ‘over pronates’, which is when arch of the foot rolls over an excessive amount of whilst walking and running. Over pronation will often cause tightness in the Achilles tendon and new studies have proven that a tight Achilles tendon causes strain to build up on the Plantar Fascia. Wearing insoles which better support arch of the foot can help to stop over pronation.
If you wear orthotic insoles it is best to wear them in both of your shoes as wearing just one on the foot that has plantar fasciits can create a leg length discrepancy and cause further biomechanical imbalances and problems. Insoles can also help to reduce stiffness in your feet by promoting better foot function. Here is a great post on painscience about wearing orthotic insoels to ease plantar fasciitis.


There are also a number of other things that you can try to do if you have PF that may help such as…

Reduce inflammation

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation injury so it is therefore important to reduce inflammation.
To lessen inflammation and ease pain, you should wrap an ice pack in a tea towel and then apply this to your foot and heel for 8-10 minutes several times day to reduce swelling and inflammation.
You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. You can either take these drugs either in pill form or as a cream that you can rub on the affected area of your foot.

Stretch your feet

Stretching is also a great way of easing plantar fasciiits.
Stretching the Plantar Fascia (through stretching the toes upwards towards your shin) will help to encourage the plantar fascia realign itself properly again. Stretching the plantar fascia like this will also help to quicken the healing process and may also ease footpain connected to PF.
It is also a good idea to wear a night splint whilst sleeping. Night splints allow for continuous stretching of the Plantar Fascia whilst you sleep. Studies have prooven that night splints have a dramatic effect at helping to decrease the symptoms of PF in more than 90% of people – Night splint s have also been proven to help reduce the most severe pain that people get from PF which occurs in the morning when people are taking their first steps of the day.


Just put your feet up

Having plantar fasciits is always a good excuse to put your feet up and not to do anything because rest is always best when it comes to foot injuries. Reduce or even completely stop yourself from using your feet entirely such as walking or running .
If you have to run make sure that you do not run on hard surfaces, such as concrete because hard surfaces will cause the most shock and pressure and will damage your feet the most. By resting your feet you are reducing the pressure on them and giving the muscles and tendons in your feet time to heal and strengthen.


Buy new shoes

Wearing poorly fitted shoes is a definite no no! Your Shoes must give your feet sufficient arch and heel support. Improper shoes may cause strain and pressure to build up on the Plantar Fascia. Women’s high heeled shoes are particularly bad when it comes to arch support, however poorly supported flat and hard soled men’s shoes are also just as bad.
You should wear shoes that have got decent shock absorption to them and have the right type of arch support that is designed for your foot type. Running shoes which have rigid arch support are best. Make sure that you wear your shoes all the time and especially when you just have gotten out of bed as wearing slippers or going barefoot can make your pain and plantar fasciitis even worse..

Use tape

Studies have shown that using kinesiology tape is great at treating and preventing plantar fasciitis. kinesiology tape uses compression to help to better support your Plantar Fascia as well as reduce tightness in the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia which could otherwise worsen the PF. Compression will also help to promote better circulation around your foot aiding with the healing process. kinesiology tape should always be applied by a specialist as applying kinesiology tape wrongly can result in further injury. If no specialist is available to apply the kinesiology tape, then wearing an ankle support is a great alternative to wearing kinesiology tape which can efficiently ease the pain from PF. Ankle supports work on the same premiss as wearing tape through using compression to reduce tightness and improve support on the Achilles tendon and Plantar Fascia.

Typically the majority of people with PF should make a complete recovery within a year. 95% of people suffering from PF will be able to reduce their foot pain without needing surgery.

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