Plantar fasciitus – Heel Pain, Arch Pain and Heel Spurs
Most people who suffer from heel pain or plantar fasciitus has one of the following 3 symptoms:
- Pain first step in the morning (pain alleviates after several minutes of walking)
- Pain as soon as you get up from sitting for long periods
- Pain after long periods of standing and walking
The cause of the heel and arch pain is due to inflammation of the plantar-fascia ligament. It is an overuse injury that affects the sole of the foot. The plantar-fascia ligament attaches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. When the ligament is strained, it becomes inflamed and pain generally occurs around the heel and up through the arches to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitus may become chronic and hurt on a daily basis when walking or standing. The pain may jump from one foot to other due to you compensating for the pain and straining the plantar-fascial ligament of the “good” foot.
If you don’t treat plantar faciitus immediately, it can become a chronic condition. Pain will occur on a daily basis and you will not be able to return to normal activity. With chronic heel and arch pain, it can affect your knees, hips and back due to the inability to walk and stand properly.
Most people describe the pain as a dull ache to a sharp pan on the bottom of the foot during activity or after activity. You can illicit the pain by using one hand to bend the toes up and using your other hand to push on the inside heel, bottom of the heel or along the arch. After long periods of standing and walking in footwear, when you take your shoes off, you may feel a burning sensation on the bottom of the foot due to the inflamed plantar fascia ligament. When the plantar fascia ligament is inflamed, you may feel better walking on the outside of your foot or ball of the foot to alleviate the symptoms.
Activity – Increase in activity, whether it be standing or walking can cause plantar fasciitus. It usually occurs when your foot experiences an abnormal amount of activity which it is not used to. New cardio regimen or even doing more walking during the summer can cause plantar fasciitus.
Weight – An increase in weight over a short period of time can cause the bottom of the foot to be stretched. The plantar fascia ligament will become strained due to the excess weight and can cause a dull ache, burning sensation or sharp pain around the heel and arch.
Footwear – Shoes that are flat and flexible will cause plantar fasciitus. Shoes that offer no support will cause the plantar fascia ligament to pull and strain more.
• Age- As you become older, heel pain becomes more common as the ligament is more easily strained.
Tight Calf Muscles – The calf attaches to the achilles, which attaches to the back of the heel bone (calcaneous). The plantar fascia ligament attaches from the bottom of the heel bone to the front of the foot. If the calf muscle is abnormally tight, it will be in a retracted position which will cause the plantar fascia ligament to be strained when weight is applied on the bottom of the foot.
What you can do
- Avoid flat shoes/flip flops as much as possible
- Never be barefoot, when you are not wearing shoes, the plantar fascia ligament stretches more
- Rolling the tender area of your foot over a tennis ball or soft ball. A frozen water bottle also works well to decrease inflammation
- Daily calf stretches
- Icing the heel and arch of your foot for 10 minutes after activity
What we do to treat Plantar Fasciitus and Heel Pain
Since plantar fasciitus can cause the heel and arch pain to become chronic, we emphasize the importance of being assessed and treated as soon as possible! The faster we treat the heel and arch pain, the faster resolution you will get. Treatment time depends on how long you have had the pain.
We will assess your foot to find the root cause of plantar fasciitus. Understanding why you have the pain will give you the tools to healing the ligament. Removing the causative factor will reduce the symptoms of the heel pain.
- Stretching exercises will be given.
- Footwear recommendations will be given.
- Biomechanical assessment will be performed to assess the way you stand and the way you walk is causing an increased the load on the plantar fascial ligament.
- Orthotics may be prescribed to stabilize the plantar fascial ligament and prevent the stretching of the ligament.
- Topical/or oral anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.
- Shockwave Therapy Treatment.
Please feel free to book your appointment at our Whitby office, or Toronto Office. Now serving- Bowmanville, Courtice, Oshawa, Whitby, Brooklin, Ajax, Durham, Pickering, Scarborough, Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, Thornhill.