Plantar Fasciitis - Heel and Arch Spurs
DEFINITION – Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the Plantar Fascia. The Plantar Fascia is a ligament that runs on the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the ball of the foot. It supports the arch and can become inflamed due to excessive stretching. This common foot pain is often felt near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute first thing in the morning after getting out of bed or after a long rest and tends to subside within a few minutes of weight bearing. Often the pain is described as “moving around”.
CAUSES – Plantar fasciitis is generally due to walking gait abnormalities. When walking, many people have their feet rolling in (also called “excessive pronation”). When the foot pronates, the arch structure collapses, which stretches the plantar fascia and places too much stress on the heel bone or the ball of the foot where the plantar fascia is attached to. Over time these tractional forces can result in inflammation of the fascia and surrounding tissue, thus causing pain in the arch, heel or ball of the foot. The heel bone may sometimes respond by developing a bony growth in its middle, called “heel spur”. Plantar fasciitis is the forerunner to a heel spur.
Plantar fasciitis may be temporarily relieved by anti-inflammatories, but consulting a podiatrist is essential to treat the problem at the root. Plantar fasciitis is best treated by neutralizing abnormal foot pronation with the help of custom orthotics also called “arch supports”. As their name indicates, they will give controlled support to the arch. The amount of support necessary will differ from one person to the other and a podiatrist will be best able to measure the exact amount of support necessary for each individual.
In the beginning, when wearing the orthotics, the muscles and ligaments of the feet and whole body need to get used to the new correct position of the feet. To do this smoothly, the wearing time of the orthotics needs to be gradually increased over a 1 week period. Orthotics need to be worn between 75 and 80% of the time when weight bearing to be effective and it will take approximately 3 months for the body to be fully used to the new correct position of the feet. Learn more about orthotics on the orthotics page.
For any questions about flat feet, orthotics, or our treatment procedures, give us a call.