Plantar fasciitis is a common condition treated by physiotherapists.  Plantar fasciitis is micro tearing and inflammation of the plantar fascia and is caused by repeated excessive force over a period of time.  The plantar fascia is a soft tissue that attaches from the heel bone and fans out to the 5 toes. It is responsible for supporting the arches in the feet, helping to hold the bones of the foot together, protecting the bottom of the foot from injury, and assisting with push off during running, jumping, and sprinting.    

When plantar fasciitis develops it usually presents with sharp heel pain especially on the first few steps in the morning or after rest.  With increased load on the fascia, it comes as no surprise that athletes (runners, tennis players, soccer players, football players etc.) and people who are carrying a few extra pounds are most commonly affected by plantar fasciitis. Some of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis can include: errors in training, muscle imbalances, age changes in the fascia, alignment problems, and poor fitting or worn out footwear.

As a physiotherapist, when I assess this condition I will look at several factors.  Some of these include your gait pattern, muscle and joint imbalances, and the wear patterns on your footwear.  I will also palpate to locate the main areas of pain and come up with a custom treatment plan based on your specific assessment.  In cases where your arch is not being supported sufficiently, taping can be helpful to provide the necessary support.  In other cases a referral for orthotics may be required. 

Some other treatments that may be administered include: education on the condition, training strategies, activity modification, ice, stretching, ultrasound, and REST!  Your treatment will vary depending on your individual needs.  You may also be shown some home exercises.  These may include, but are not limited to, picking up marbles with your toes and rolling a can under your foot to loosen up the fascia in the morning.

Adam Bernard is a physiotherapist at Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy.  If you’re having trouble with some of the above symptoms you can book an appointment with him to see if treatment may be helpful.