Plantar Fasciitis – Rory McKay
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel. Approximately 2
million patients are treated for this condition every year. The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament
that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It connects the heel to the front of
your foot and supports the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this strong band of tissue
that supports the arch of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed.
The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet.
Sometimes too much pressure damages or tears the tissues. The body’s natural response to injury is
inflammation, which results in the heel pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis.
A few factors that can make you more prone to the condition including tighter calf muscles, that
make it difficult to flex your foot and bring your toes up toward your shin, a very high arch, repetitive
impact activity (running/sports), as well as new or increased activity.
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the foot near the
heel. Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning, or after a long period of
rest, such as after a long car ride with the pain subsiding after a few minutes of walking. Finally,
greater pain after (not during) exercise or activity.
More than 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve by starting simple treatment methods.
The key is to try and reduce stress in the ligament – The stress placed on the ligament causing the
tiny tears is the reason you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. If you do not take steps to reduce this
stress, then pain and inflammation will continue to occur. Our clinicians can help remove some of
the stress from the ligament and give it an opportunity to heal through adjustments.
By being proactive and doing this you also minimise the risk of secondary injuries. Remember one of
the things that can happen when you are suffering from this condition is a change in your gait to try
to reduce the pain you experience. Using manual therapy care as part of your treatment plan will
help minimise the misalignments caused by a change in your gait – misalignments that can cause
problems in other parts of your body, like your feet, knees, hips and low-back, if it is left untreated.