Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the heel. ‘Plantar’ refers to the sole of the foot and ‘fasciitis’ refers to the tissue (fascia) in the sole of the foot that connects the heel to the toes.
Plantar fasciitis involves the inflammation of this tissue in the sole of the foot which causes pain in the heel and may also cause the formation of heel spurs (abnormal bone growth).
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is the feeling of sharp heel pain which is more acute with one’s first steps after getting up in the morning, and also after spending long periods of time on your feet.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by stretching of the fascia in the sole of the foot, which leads to tearing. There are a number of factors that may cause this stretching and tearing, including obesity, spending long hours walking each day, having an unusual walking style, having flat feet or high arches, and improper footwear.
Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common complaint, occurring in over 10,000 Australians per year (Focus Medica). It is a condition more commonly suffered by women than men and by people aged 40 to 60 years. It can last from several days to several weeks.
Plantar fasciitis is usually self-treated at home by applying ice to the heel, avoiding excessive exercise or the use of night splints for extending the calf and foot while you sleep. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor to perform tests such as an X-ray or an MRI scan to rule out any other underlying issues.
It’s also advisable to consult a podiatrist to assess individual causes for plantar fasciitis (such as walking posture) and for advice on the most appropriate course of physical therapies to remedy the problem. A podiatrist can also advise on the best footwear or the need for shoe inserts to minimise the reoccurrence of plantar fasciitis.
If you’re wanting to get to the bottom of what you think may be plantar fasciitis and want to contact a Perth podiatrist, get in touch with our team.