Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Spurs
What are they?
Plantar Fasciitis is pain/tenderness of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick ligamentous/fibrous band on the bottom of the foot that is attached to the heel, and runs forward to the forefoot. Plantar fasciitis is a painful overstressing of this band, which usually occurs at its attachment to the heel; however, the stress and pain of plantar fasciitis can occur anywhere on the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
A Heel Spur is a piece of calcium or bone that sticks out from the bottom of the heel bone, and lies within the fibers of the plantar fascia. When walking, the spur digs into the plantar fascia and causes small micro-tears in the plantar fascia. This produces pain and discomfort in the heel, which at times may radiate into the arch.
The term Plantar Fasciitis denotes plantar: meaning the underside of the foot. Fascia- referring to the fascia and – itis meaning inflammation. This last part is a misnomer as this condition is not inflammatory at all and the correct name for the condition should be Plantar Fasciopathy! -opathy meaning breaking down due overstressing and micro tearing of the structure.
This condition is the most common cause of heel pain, as a result many practitioners often misdiagnose. There are other causes of heel pain and if you are unsure of your diagnosis, further investigation may be required.
- Repetitive activity – prolonged walking, standing, sports
- Lack of flexibility (limited ankle dorsiflexion)
- Weight gain (pregnancy)
- Improper and or non-supportive footwear
- Natural process of aging – reduced fat pad, etc.
- Prolonged bed rest
How can we help?
Educate patient regarding appropriate footwear fit, function and support
- Modify footwear as required
Fabricate custom made orthotics to align the foot.
Podiatry: Biomechanical assessment to determine the root cause of the condition. After this the Podiatrist will discuss and fully explain the available options to best reduce your symptoms and its chances of the problem returning.