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Plantar Faciitis

The plantar fascia is a fibrous tissue that aids in the support of the longitudinal arch of the foot. It attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus) and then flares outward attaching to the toes. An inflammation of this tissue is referred to as plantar fasciitis. It is caused by micro-tearing of the fascia from excessive stress at the fascia's attachment site at the heel.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Point tenderness on the bottom of the foot, near the inner aspect of the heel
  • Pain on the bottom of the foot when first getting out of bed or after prolonged sitting
  • Gradual development of heel pain

Causes

  • Sudden increases in running, jumping or aerobic activities
  • Tight lower leg muscles, especially the gastrocnemius and soleus
  • Poor foot biomechanics, excessive pronation, flat feet or high arches
  • Improper shoes for the activity, shoes that are fitted or cushioned poorly or shoes that have a broken down heel counter

Treatment

  • Ice the area of tenderness after activity
  • Decrease running mileage and jogging activities
  • Stretch calf muscles and toe flexor tendons
  • Ankle and toe flexor strengthening exercises
  • Orthotics, arch supports and new shoes
  • Modalities such as ultrasound, phonophoresis or iontophoresis
  • Anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by a physician

References

"Plantar Fasciitis." UWHealth.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. .