Does it feel like stepping on glass when you put weight on your foot?
This condition could be a common condition called plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is the thick band of connective tissue that spans the bottom of the foot, from the forefoot to the heel and plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of this tissue.
How does plantar fasciitis happen?
During normal gait, our heel strikes the ground first, and as we shift our weight forward we transfer our weight to our mid and forefoot. As this shift from the rear to the forefoot happens, the plantar fascia stretches and helps propel us forward. When we put excessive strain on the foot such as with poor footwear, prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces, or weight gain to name a few, the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed.
If this condition becomes prolonged, it can lead to heel spurs. This happens as bone has a tendency to deform along the lines of stress that it is subjected to. Therefore the excessive stress and the pulling force on the heel where the plantar fascia attaches can become a bone spur.
As with any health condition, when possible, it is best to get to the root of the problem. Discussing the patient’s history will often reveal things like poor footwear, recent weight gain, or excessive stress on the feet (like running on pavement for example). An examination will reveal biomechanical problems with feet, ankle, knees, hips, or back.
What can be done about plantar fasciitis?
- Avoid the activities that caused the problem (ex: running on pavement or wearing poor footwear)
- Stretching the plantar fascia, icing, and foot exercises
- Wearing proper footwear, and avoiding walking in bare feet
- Custom foot orthotics are often necessary and very helpful.
- Ultrasound, electric stimulation, and LASER therapy can help promote healing and reduce inflammation
- Soft-tissue manipulation techniques help improve the healing and reduce the stress.
- A plantar fascitiis night splint may also be necessary. This helps keep the plantar fascia in a stretched position at night during sleep, which also promotes healing.
Plantar fasciitis can be quite painful and debilitating so it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing this type of pain, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment 519-258-8544.