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Suffer from heel pain? What should I know about Plantar Fasciitis?

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that originates from your heel and runs across the bottom of your foot to your toes. When you strain your plantar fascia, it becomes weak and inflamed. This type of injury will often lead to pain around your heel or in the bottom of your foot when you stand or walk, especially for the first few steps in the morning.

Common causes & Risk factors

Plantar fascia acts to support the arch of your foot. Repeated strain can cause micro-tears in the fascia. These can lead to pain and swelling.  Some of the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis are:

  • Flat feet or high foot arches
  • Wearing shoes with poor support, such as high heels
  • Walk and stand on hard surfaces for long period of times, such as teachers and factory workers
  • Overweight
  • Middle-aged or older: most common between the ages of 40 to 60

Signs & symptoms

  • Stiffness or pain in the bottom of your heel
  • Pain travels from the bottom of the foot towards the mid-foot area
  • Pain is usually worse in the morning when you take first few steps
  • Pain tends to get better after a few steps but get worse as the day goes on
  • Pain can also be triggered by rising from sitting or standing for long periods
  • Increased pain when climbing stairs

Treatment plan

The treatment plan starts with pain relief during the early stage of plantar fasciitis. Then, it will move onto regain full movement of your foot through targeted stretches and manual techniques, and restore specific muscle strength of your foot through specific exercise. The treatment plan ends with restoring normal foot biomechanics and improving techniques to prevent recurrences to ensure a safe and functional return to work and/or sport.

 

By: Jie (Janet) Yang, PT.  

 

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