How to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment, especially among athletes. Plantar fasciitis occurs when micro-tears occur in the plantar fascia, a band of elastic tissue that runs from the heel to the metatarsal. Formerly it was believed that there was an inflammatory process in the fascia, hence its name, but now that it has been demonstrated that this is not the case, its correct term would be plantar fasciosis.

Usually, the pain is perceived under the heel, in its more internal side, and can extend towards the fingers.

What are the causes of fasciitis?

The causes are usually, as in most injuries that are not due to direct trauma, multifactorial. An alteration of the natural biomechanics, such as flat feet, excessive heel valgus, shortening of the triceps suralis, dysmetria… can cause this tension in the fascia. Also a bad mobility of the joints of the foot as a result of always walking on hard surfaces and stay long time with footwear, will further damage the fascia, since our foot is designed to adapt to uneven terrain and move their 33 joints.

Other factors can be overweight, inadequate footwear or overloading, among others.

Learning to identify fasciitis

A typical characteristic is morning pain that subsides as we walk. It is also painful after prolonged standing or walking long distances. Occasionally the pain can manifest itself as prickling or burning and usually appears progressively over days. On deep palpation of the area, the pain is usually intense and the structure feels tight to the touch.

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An X-ray may show a calcaneal spur derived from plantar fasciitis, due to inflammation at its insertion and subsequent calcification.

Treatment options

The techniques for its treatment are very varied, but they will always be directed to remove tension to the fascia and the Achilles tendon to offer a correct mobility to the structures of the foot. Active stretching is very beneficial, as well as instrumental fibrolysis (hooks), kinesitherapy or dry needling. Occasionally, if the symptomatology persists and the morphology or biomechanics of the foot is a cause of the injury, it is advisable to have a customized plantar support (insoles) made to compensate for this deficit.