A common runner's injury, plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the middle bones of the foot becomes inflamed. The good news is that this is an injury that usually resolves without the need for surgery.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain! This can be anywhere on the underside of the heel, though there is usually a particular spot that is especially tender.
This pain is often worst first thing in the morning, and usually eases on resting the foot. Stretching the sole of the foot, as when you go on tip-toes or walk upstairs, may make the pain worse.
This condition is quite common, with women and the over-40s more susceptible, as are runners and other athletes. Other factors include:
- Sudden changes in mileage for runners or walkers
- Shoes with poor cushioning
- Sudden gains in weight or being overweight
- Achilles tendon tightness
However, there is often no apparent cause or precipitant.
There is a range of treatment possible, however runners insist that the most effective regime is to rigorously ice and stretch the arch of the foot, 4 to 5 times per day.
Other options that can help include:
- Resting the foot as much as possible - avoid running or excess walking, switching to non-weight bearing exercise.
- Wearing shoes with cushioned heels and good arch support.
- Heel pads
- Painkillers - NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen) or painkillers such as Paracetamol