Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common cause of pain felt in the heel. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that spans under your foot, from your heel bone to the toes. It supports the arch underneath your foot and can get over-strained and inflamed, causing pain and discomfort in the heel.
This condition is common in people with excessively flat or high foot arches as they put more strain on the plantar fascia when weight bearing. People who are overweight or spend a lot of time on their feet may also suffer from this condition. In addition, wearing shoes with poor arch support (e.g. flat slippers) puts strain on the plantar fascia as it allows the foot to roll inward excessively.
Common symptoms of this condition include pain on the first few steps after a period of sitting or on getting up in the mornings, pain that eases after a few steps, pain that comes on after prolonged weight bearing activities (such as standing, walking or running) and in severe cases, pain can even be present at rest.
It is important to catch this condition early to prevent it from developing further. Physiotherapists can help in this by alleviating symptoms but more importantly, they will identify the cause of your plantar fasciitis and manage those causes so that the condition will not worsen.
You will be advised on the appropriate footwear and orthotics if necessary. As plantar fasciitis can be aggravated by weakness and lack of flexibility in your lower limb, your physiotherapist will devise an exercise program to improve your strength and flexibility. As you recover, your physiotherapist will also address related work and sport issues so that you will be able to return to those activities safely.