The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament like structure (fibrous connective tissue) 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. During activities like walking and running the fascia stretches to allow the arches in your feet to absorb shock better.
ABOUT PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Plantar fasciitis is an injury that is very common and initial symptoms can be easily overlooked. The average plantar heel pain episode lasts longer than 6 months and it can affect up to 10-15% of the population.
Many people report feeling pain in their heel first thing in the morning and during their first steps after prolonged sitting. However, once you start walking and moving the pain may ease off. The pain from plantar fasciitis is commonly described as having a stone in your shoe, or a bruise under your heel.
Once plantar fasciitis has set in, it may take up to 12 months to treat. If left untreated plantar fasciitis can reduce your ability to weight bear for longer periods. The plantar fascia becomes sensitive to load from activities like standing and walking. However, excessive rest can reduce the plantar fascia tolerance further and create an array of other complications leading up the leg. Being our main form of transport, the constant use of our feet often enters you in a cycle of continuous flare-ups. Treatments can often be a balancing act, between not enough load and too much load.
Ensuring we get on top of the initial symptoms of plantar fasciitis, makes the rehabilitation process easier. Simple changes to foot wear, impact volume and strengthen protocols can all help reduces the progression of plantar fasciitis.
CAUSES OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Plantar fasciitis is usually caused when the plantar fascia is put through excessive load. Generally, exceeding load tolerance can be caused with increased in running, walking, changes in footwear, increased in weight or starting a new activity.
Furthermore, during prolonged inactivity the plantar fascia tolerance will decrease. Therefore, if you re-introduce activity too rapidly you may overload the plantar fascia. It is important that the tissue loading process allows for adequate time for the plantar fascia to adapt and build resilience to the task.
The plan would revolve around monitoring your overall load or volume each day. Additionally, creating a graded strengthening program for your feet and ankles will allow the plantar fascia to gradual increase resilience to load without overloading and causing a flare-up. The combination of this with strategies like assessing footwear, pain management and biomechanical analysis can be utilised to optimise HOW you are loading the plantar fascia.
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