Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is typically an overuse injury that will not only interfere with the continuation of your exercise program but if left untreated, can make even simple day-to-day activities difficult.  Your plantar fascia is a fibrous band of tissues that spans your arch, connecting your heel to your toes.  This band is responsible for supporting your arch and absorbing shock when you step or run, therefore, it endures a high amount of stress.  When this band is stretched out your foot flattens out too much.   When these stress levels become excessive, the tissues become strained and tiny tears occur, causing inflammation. This, in turn, results in irritation, heel pain, and stiffness – otherwise known as plantar fasciitis.

Signature Symptoms

Pain in the heel from plantar fasciitis typically comes on gradually and is worse directly following activity.  Perhaps the most tell-tale sign, however, is the stabbing pain in the bottom of your heel when you first step out of bed in the morning.  This is because the plantar fascia tightens at rest and then is suddenly stretched and strained when you try to walk, awakening the inflammation and injury.  The tissues limber up after walking around a while, but don’t be fooled – the problem has not gone away.  You will be sent another reminder when you take a step after an extended period of relaxation, riding in a car, or trying to walk up the stairs.

How Can Custom Orthotics Help?

This plantar fasciitis injury often occurs in athletes, especially runners, who have increased the intensity or duration of their workouts too quickly.  Another common culprit is insufficiently warming up prior to activity.  However, plantar fasciitis also can occur in normal daily activities.  There are many other contributors, such as being overweight or having high or flat arches that cause pronation problems and bad biomechanics, placing excessive pressure on the plantar fascia. 

If you have had repeated episodes of plantar fasciitis or had it for more than 6 months, have tried other treatment without success or simply have bad foot mechanics, you will probably need custom orthotics for complete and long-term pain relief.   A good pair of shoes that offer plenty of cushion and support coupled with custom orthotics can do wonders.  Custom orthotics provide comfort by decreasing the tension on the plantar fascia and correcting structural and biomechanical abnormalities in your foot and ankle.  Often by straightening out your structural issues in your foot and ankle, you will then relieve knee and back pain caused by this misalignment.

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