Physiology for Plantar Fascia Strain

Physiology for Plantar Fascia StrainPlantar fascia strain is normally caused due to the overuse of the arch tendon or plantar fascia of the foot. The plantar fascia is a touch, thick band of fibrous tissue, which from beneath heel bone to the front part of the foot.

Plantar fascia strain is a common injury in many athletes and sportsman that are involves in a lot of running, jumping or dancing. Walkers and runners who overpronate are at particular risk compared to others. Overpronation is the excessive flattening or rolling of the foot which may result in damage to the plantar fascia.

Anatomy

The plantar fascia is a broad band of thick fibrous tissue, which runs from beneath the heel one to the front of the foot.

A plantar fascia strain can also be associated with another common injury called a heel spur; however, they are not the same. A heel spur is a bony growth that develops at the joining place of the heel bone (calcaneus) and plantar fascia. Heel spurs occur due to repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia. A heel spur will not cause any pain.

Causes

The most common cause of plantar fascia strain if the stiffness of the calf muscles that leads to the overpronation of the foot. This will result in excessive and repetitive stretching of the plantar fascia causing irritations, inflammation and thickness of the fascia. Progressive thickness of the plantar fascia will allow it to gradually lose its strength and flexibility. Pain is caused to the degeneration of the plantar fascia where it is attached to the heel bone or calcaneus.

Another common reason for plantar fascia strain is the excessive usage of footwear which does not provide enough arch support, thus contributing to plantar fasciitis. Moreover, overweight people are more likely at risk because of the excessive weight stressing the foot.

Plantar fascia strain signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of plantar fascia strain include:

  • Heel pain – underneath the heel and on the inside at the attachment site of the fascia
  • Pain due to pressure – you may do a self-diagnosis by pressing the inside of the heel and along the arch
  • Pain worsens when you make the first steps in the morning. This is because the plantar fascia tightens while you sleep; causing pain, which may feel as if you are walking on pebbles the next day. Pain usually subsides within a few minutes and the foot warms up
  • Worsening pain with physical activity – pain will flare up even more as you continue normal activity
  • Pain while stretching of the plantar fascia
  • Pain outside the border of the heel. This usually occurs due offloading the side of the heel which hurts more by walking with the border of the foot

Treatment

Treatment primarily involves rest and avoiding aggravating activities. You must rest the plantar fascia and your foot until pain subsides. Continuous walking on the foot will just exacerbate the condition and worsen pain. Therefore, you must stop any unneeded activities, which may just worsen the condition rather than doing it any good.

See your doctor if pain persists. You doctor will most likely advice taking over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The injured foot will be placed in a splint or cast so that it is rested. Your doctor may also suggest the RICE treatment which involves rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Icing your injured foot will relieve pain and swelling. Apply ice regularly using an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel (avoid applying ice directly to the skin). Compression involves wrapping your foot with appropriate dressing and elevation just means you have to keep your foot elevated to improve symptoms, for as much as possible.

If you are having symptoms of Plantar Fascia Strain, go talk to a Perth physiotherapist to help you.  Call us today at 9444 8729!