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Common Conditions

Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar Fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a thick, web-like ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. The plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot, helping with movements such as walking. If tension and stress on this fascia become too great, small tears can occur. Repeated stretching and tearing can also irritate or inflame the fascia, causing heel pain and stiffness.⁣

⁣Typically, Plantar Fasciitis causes stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst in the first few steps after awakening although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or getting up after sitting. Do note that the pain is usually worse after exercise and not during it. This pain occurs because the plantar fascia shortens when the foot is at rest. Walking and standing for a short while usually elongates the plantar fascia, causing the heel pain to lessen or go away. Other factors such as the age of between 40 to 60 years old, foot mechanics (flat feet or high arch), and obesity can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.⁣

Physical therapy can help with Plantar Fasciitis. A physical therapist will develop a program to decrease the symptoms. Treatment may include manual therapy and ice therapy to decrease pain and inflammation. Kinesio taping of the foot may also be done to help provide short-term relief. Lifestyle recommendations and stretching exercises will be prescribed to improve the flexibility of the ankle and plantar fascia. Usage of a night splint and selection of supportive footwear and/or shoe inserts that minimize foot pronation and reduce stress to the plantar fascia may also be encouraged if necessary. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

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