Foot & Heel Pain: Identifying Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar1Location:
The Plantar Fascia is the ligament that makes up the longitudinal arch of your foot from the heel to the base of the toes. It is active in supporting the foot’s arch and is in motion during all movement of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is inflamed.

Symptoms:
Pain caused by Plantar fasciitis is localized at the base of the heel and throughout the bottom of the foot. The sensation is often at its worst in the morning, when the body’s temperature is lower in the extremities and the connective tissue may be less flexible. Pain may intensify with walking or standing.

Plantar2

When the plantar fascia is injured, the foot’s natural mechanics when walking cause the plantar fascia to stretch. This stretching increases strain on the injury, worsening the damage and increasing inflammation.










Causes:

Overuse and excessive load to the foot through the following stressors:
  • Duration -  Increased time load bearing (ex: standing longer periods, increased time/distance running)
  • Impact -  Increased force of impact (ex: harder surfaces, unsupportive footwear, plyometric exercise)
  • Load - (ex: sudden weight gain, pregnancy, carrying a heavy backpack, faulty bio-mechanics)
  • Intensity - Increasing the strenuousness of tasks (ex: running uphill, increased working range of motion)
  • Speed - Increasing speed the speed at which activity is performed (ex: faster running or walking)

Treatment:
A Massage Specialists practitioner will evaluate your injury and provide a comprehensive treatment plan depending on the severity of your injury. Because plantar fasciitis is a soft tissue injury, massage therapy is one of the most effective means of treating it. Healing can also be expedited with diligent self-care such as:
  • Rest
  • Stretching (try the arch stretch and dual calf stretch here)
  • Ice (check out our guide here)
A Massage Specialists practitioner will further advise you on appropriate stretches, activity modification, footwear, orthopedic support, self-massage, and alternative exercises.