The plantar fascia is a broad, flat ligament which supports the arch of the foot. The ligament runs from the heel of the foot and attaches to the bones at the base of each toe. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflammed [i].
Prevalence – Plantar fasciitis is a one of the most common soft-tissue injuries to the foot[i]. It is estimated to account for 11-15% of foot problems which require professional assistance. The majority of these are runners. For the general population, the highest incidence occurs between 40 and 60 years of age[i].
- Pain under the heel, especially with weight bearing after prolonged periods of rest i.e. first thing in the morning
- Exacerbation of pain occurs when standing for prolonged periods of time
- Tight calf muscles, which limit the mobility of the ankle
- Overpronation (inwards rolling) of the foot
- Carrying extra weight places more strain on the arch of the foot
- Prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces i.e. cement
- Sudden increase in frequency and intensity of running
- Inappropriate and unsupportive footwear
[i] Buchbinder, R. (2004). Clinical Practice: Plantar Fasciitis. New England Journal of Medicine, 350, 2159 – 2166.
[ii] Barredo, R.D.V., Menna, D. & Farris, J.W. (2007). An evaluation of research evidence for selected physical therapy interventions for plantar fasciitis. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 19, 41-5