What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Injuries to the foot can put normal life on hold, and plantar fasciitis is one of the most common types of foot injury. Also known as Runner’s Heel, this condition is most often characterised by a sharp pain through the heel and arch of the foot. Often the pain goes away during activity, but returns after a period of rest which can be confusing for people with the condition as other injuries will tend to feel worse during activity and pain will subside during rest.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot, around the heel and arch. However there are some other signs that you have plantar fasciitis, which include:

Pain is more intense first thing in the morning after getting out of bed, or after sitting for an extended time
Pain may subside during exercise and activity, but return after rest
Hard to raise your toes off the floor when standing

If you have these symptoms odds are you have plantar fasciitis.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a section of connective tissue which joins your heel to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. It is placed under tension whenever you put weight through your feet: walking, running, jumping, or just standing. It’s common for plantar fasciitis to occur due to overuse, but there are some factors that make it more likely for you to develop plantar fasciitis:

  • Your shoes lack cushioning and support
  • You exercise on hard surfaces, like running on concrete
  • The quantity of exercise you do has recently increased, or you are spending more time stood up than usual
  • You have tight calf muscles or heels
  • You’re over 40 - plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60
  • You’re overweight - this puts more stress through the foot when standing or moving

How To Manage Plantar Fasciitis

According to the NHS, plantar fasciitis can take up to 12 months to resolve properly, and during the recovery process it is important to avoid activities that cause the pain.

The recommended way to self-manage the condition is:

  • Rest - Initially ease off on your usual training activities. When the plantar fascia is inflamed further vigorous activity can make the problem worse.
  • Ice - Cooling the area can help manage pain and reduce swelling. You can apply an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time, or use one of our size A bandages to wrap the foot and get hours of continuous cooling.
  • Pain relief - Taking over-the-counter pain remedies like paracetamol, ibuprofen, or topical gels can help you get on with your day.
  • Strengthen and stretch - Although you need to rest if you spend too long inactive the muscles and tissues will weaken and make the problem worse. You can do some walking, with well-cushioned shoes, and also some stretches. The NHS has provided some basic stretching that you can do to help relieve plantar fasciitis.
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