Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain and it affects people of all ages. Usually, the pain is worse after rest and inactivity, so you are likely to experience pain first thing in the morning or after sitting down for an extended period. In many cases, after the foot has had time to loosen up and the muscles are warmed up, the pain will fade away. However, in more serious cases, the pain may be consistent throughout the day. There are a number of factors that cause Plantar Fasciitis and often, custom orthotics can help to alleviate the problem.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is normally caused by strain on the fascia. The fascia is a web of connective tissue that connects from the heel to the front of the foot and provides support as you walk. It can become strained and inflamed, and this is known as Plantar Fasciitis. When the fascia is chronically strained and inflamed and the structure has degenerative changes it is called Plantar Fasciosis.
There are several reasons why fascia becomes strained in the first place. Trauma and bruising to the bottom of the foot, caused by high-impact activity or an injury of some kind, can lead to Plantar Fasciitis. Excess weight also puts more pressure on the base of the foot and causes the fascia to become inflamed. However, more often than not, it is due to issues with the arches and mechanics of the foot or the Achilles tendon.
Flat feet and high arches (overpronation and supination) affect the way that weight is distributed over the base of the foot and put extra weight on the fascia, leading to stress and inflammation. People tend to change their walking patterns to reduce the pain but this only makes the problem worse.
Tightness in your calf muscles and the Achilles tendon (the tendon that connects your calf muscles to your heels) can also cause Plantar Fascia pain.
How To Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
There are some simple ways to prevent Plantar Fasciitis. If you engage in a lot of high-impact activity, it is important to wear good quality footwear that offers you the right support. Warming up properly and doing some basic stretches to loosen the achilles tendon and the fascia in your foot can also help.
If you are carrying extra weight, a healthy eating and exercise program to reduce your weight will also prevent excess strain on the fascia. Since Plantar Fasciitis is a build up of excessive inflammation it may be caused by other disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. You may want to consult with a dietitian to learn which foods may cause excessive inflammation so you can avoid them. However, if the pain is caused by issues with your arches, you may need specialist custom orthotics to help.
How Can Plantar Fasciitis / Fasciosis Be Treated?
Finding ways to correct overpronation and supination is key to treating Plantar Fasciitis and using custom orthotics is the best way to do this. Using 3D mapping technology or plaster casting, we can create an accurate cast of your foot. We will then use this footprint to design custom orthotics that fit your foot perfectly and correct issues with your arches. This can eliminate pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis and allow the structure to heal. Physical therapy is also recommended to help facilitate the healing process.
Along with specifically designed custom orthotics and supportive footwear, the Healthy Steps Pedorthists will teach you how to stretch, ice and apply kinesiology tape to aid in the healing process.
If you are concerned about foot pain, get in touch with Healthy Steps to discuss how custom orthotics could help you.