Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common explanations of heel pain. It is caused by inflammation to the thick band that connects the toes to the heel bone, called the plantar fascia, which runs across the bottom of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis, like all repetitive strain injuries, typically develops over a long period of time. The fascia and soft tissues-muscles of the feet can be injured by faulty foot biomechanics, repetitive activities that strain the foot, too much physical activity-running, poorly fitting shoes, standing of hard surfaces, foot trauma, and soft tissue restrictions of the foot, ankle and leg.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes a stabbing pain in the heel of the foot, which is worse during the first few steps of the day after awakening. As you continue to walk on the affected foot, the pain gradually lessens. Usually, only one foot is affected, but it can occur in both feet simultaneously.
To diagnose plantar fasciitis, we will physically examine your foot for soft tissue-muscular restrictions, test your reflexes, balance, coordination and muscle strength. Your doctor may also advise a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray to rule out other others sources of your pain, such as a pinched nerve, stress fracture, or bone spur.
Conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis includes primarily Active Release techniques to the affected soft tissue structures. This will include the plantar fascia, but also other surrounding muscles of the foot, calf and leg which are connected biomechanically. Treatment is designed to break down the restrictive soft-tissue adhesions (scar tissue) that are causing pain and limiting mobility. Usually patients experience immediate changes as their foot motion improves and the foot becomes less tender. Treatment is corrective in nature, making a permanent functional resolution, not just providing temporary symptomatic relief.