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Plantar Fasciitis - What is it and how to recognise It

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia- a ligament that runs along the bottom of our feet, connecting our heels to our toes. It is the tissue that supports the arch of your feet, and is one of the most commonly injured body parts overall. In this blog, we’re going to look at what causes Plantar Fasciitis as well as the signs and symptoms that you may have it.

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia has become strained, usually due to overuse. As the plantar fascia runs along the bottom of our feet, it is one of the most used ligaments in our bodies. Every step we take causes the plantar fascia to stretch, which is ultimately what leads to Plantar Fasciitis.

Every time any ligament is stretched, it will sustain tiny tears. Usually, these are so minuscule and spread out that we don’t notice, and the tears will repair. But if the ligament is being stretched too far, too often, without a sufficient period of rest for it to repair itself, plantar fasciitis will develop. This means that the people most likely to get plantar fasciitis are active people, particularly those who undertake very repetitive exercises- someone who goes walking or hiking for example will be much more at risk than someone who goes swimming and cycling.

Plantar Fasciitis is also common among people over the age of 50- when our ligaments can shrink, nutrients are not absorbed as efficiently, and our bodies take longer to heal themselves.

 

What are the Signs?

One of the trickiest parts of dealing with Plantar Fasciitis is simply getting people to recognise that it is a medical condition. Even though Plantar Fasciitis does not pose a major threat to our health, many people unfortunately ignore the pain, and simply put it down to ‘sore feet’. Luckily, there are a few signs that can help you distinguish between feet that are just aching, and ones that have Plantar Fasciitis.

The first signs are generally inflammation and pain when you stretch your feet, but this pain is noticeably worse in the morning. After initially waking up, the feet will feel stiff and sore, though this will subside quickly as you begin to move about. The pain is also worse when you begin to exercise, but again, will disappear soon after starting. Any stretching of the feet will result in a sharp pang of pain, such as walking up the stairs, but standing for excessive periods of time will also have the same effect.

 

Plantar Fasciitis is not a serious condition, and is easily treated and preventable. It can however take time to heal, which can be disruptive if you are a sporty person with a schedule of events, so understand and preventing this condition is always the best approach. To learn more about Plantar Fasciitis and how it is treated, visit our information page.