Plantar fasciitis or plantar-fascia heel pain 


Plantar fasciitis or plantar-fascia heel pain 

The plantar fascia is a band of thick connective tissue that attaches the heel to the toes and helps support the arch of the foot. When this band becomes inflamed, it is referred to as plantar fasciitis (-itis: inflammation of a certain structure). 

This condition is relatively (common) well known, especially amongst runners. It involves a (characterized by a) sharp pain underneath the foot, which is usually increases first thing in the morning or after periods of being sedentary (prolonged sitting or standing in one position). Once the muscles and structures warm-up and stretch out, the pain usually decreases. 

Why does it occur? 

The plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber for the foot, therefore with increased pressure (such as prolonged standing) or stress from repetitive movements (such as running, jumping, etc.), there may be small tears that accumulate in the fascia, which then can become irritated or inflamed.

However, the main cause is not clear. 

From my clinical experience, an irritation of the plantar fascia may be a symptom of a biomechanical cause. For instance:

  • Imbalance of tight and weak muscle groups 

  • Weakness or lack of endurance of key muscles such as the gastroc/soleus complexe and/or the hip extensor muscles.

  • Foot biomechanics

  • Obesity

  • etc. 

Treatment may include: progressive stretching, strengthening, pain modalities, soft tissue release, etc. 

It has been shown that the sooner one intervenes and seeks treatment for their plantar fasciitis, the better the outcome. 

Isabella Pace