Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia – a strip of fibrous tissue running from the inside of your heel to the base of your toes and supporting the arch in your foot. The inflammation is often cause by repetitive stress leading to microtrauma as a result of poor body alignment, including pronated feet, or unaccustomed stress on the foot, such as a bout of running or walking.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include sharp pain in your heel or along the arch of your foot, which is often worse first thing in the morning and may be aggravated at the end of the day after a lot of activity on your feet. It commonly affects one side only and occasionally affects both feet.
Maintaining poor alignment of the foot, or continuing to stress it repeatedly aggravates the condition and thus delays healing by maintaining the inflammation. Treatment for plantar fasciitis should therefore include an assessment of the foot and body mechanics during walking and running, and suggestions to correct it. Other treatments should work to decrease the inflammation, stretch the structures on the bottom of the foot, and strengthen the muscles that support the arch of your foot.
A registered physiotherapist can provide a tailored strengthening and stretching program based on your individualized assessment and may recommend the use of orthotics to position your foot in a neutral alignment. They may also use modalities such as acupuncture, ultrasound, laser, and ice which have been shown to decrease pain and inflammation, or recommend a “sock” to maintain a lengthened position of the plantar fascia while you sleep.
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