Experiencing Foot Pain? You Could Be Suffering From Plantar Fasciitis.

foot pain

In this 3 part series on Plantar Fasciitis, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, treatment options as well as simple exercises you can do at home.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a term given for the painful and inflamed flat, fibrous band of tissue (also known as the plantar fascia or plantar aponeurosis) that connects your heel bone to your toes.

The fascia acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot. When there is excessive strain placed on the fascia, tiny tears occur on the surface, resulting in inflammation. In turn, this causes weakness, irritation, swelling and pain along the plantar fascia, especially in weight-bearing activities.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is likely to happen with the following:

  • Faulty Windlass Mechanism

The windlass mechanism describes how the plantar fascia supports the foot during weight bearing activities. A ‘windlass’ is the tightening of a rope or cable. The plantar fascia simulates a cable attached to the calcaneus (heel bone) and the metatarsophalangeal (toe) joints. Dorsiflexion (foot up towards the shin) during the push-off phase of gait causes the plantar fascia to shorten as the winding of the plantar fascia shortens the distance between the calcaneus (heel bone) and metatarsals helping to elevate the arch. When there are faulty biomechanics in the foot, the effective use of the windlass mechanism is inhibited and this increases the strain on the plantar fascia.

  • Excessive foot pronation

Excessive pronation or inward rolling of the foot also inhibits efficient use of the windlass mechanism. This decreases shock absorption through the plantar fascia which in turn increases the tension on the plantar fascia.

  • Tight calf muscle

Having tight calf muscles can cause excessive foot pronation contributing to excessive foot mobility which increases the level of stresses on the plantar fascia.

  • High arched foot

A high arched foot lacks the normal joint mobility which reduces the foot’s ability to absorb shock from the ground, thereby increasing the stresses on the plantar fascia.

  • Ill-fitting or worn out shoes

Wearing ill-fitting or worn out shoes may change the foot biomechanics, causing undue strain on the plantar fascia.

  • Excessive walking and running on hard surfaces

This increases the shock transmitted to the plantar fascia, increasing the strain on the plantar fascia.

  • Overweight

Being overweight increases the level of stresses applied to the fascia due to the added body weight on the foot, increasing the strain on the plantar fascia.

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by numerous factors. Next week, we look into the symptoms and treatment available for the condition.


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