WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS (HEEL SPUR SYNDROME)? Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia is pulling on the heel bone and therefore causing inflammation and pain.
The plantar fascia is connective tissue that acts as a stabilizer and maintains the integrity of the arch of the foot. It originates at the bottom of the heel bone, is attached to the ball of the foot, and continues forward to insert at the toes.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS COMMON SYMPTOMS/COMPLAINTS Patients complain of severe pain felt in the heel at the hindfoot particularly when they take their first few steps of the day, or after they have been off their feet for a prolonged period of time. This can generally be referred to as pain after rest! One of the main characteristics of plantar fasciitis heel pain is that the pain will subside or go away after walking for short while and then return once you sit down for a period of time. This is not true in all cases. Often times the pain can be constant but is usually more severe in the mornings or after long periods of not being on your feet.
HOW IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS CAUSED? The plantar fascia is repeatedly over-torqued because the heel bone in the hindfoot is stable while the forefoot is over-pronating. This shearing force causes the plantar fascia to become inflamed.
Because the weakest part of the plantar fascia is the attachment to the heel, pain on the inside of the heel is felt. When the plantar fascia is repeatedly twisted, it pulls the connective tissue away from the heel and causes the pain and inflammation. If this happens often enough, the heel will eventually grow toward the plantar fascia in an effort to re-attach itself. That bone growth is called a heel spur. The pain is felt during the first few steps of the day because, during the night, the fibers of the fascia try to heal themselves by forming a fragile new fiber, and when the person puts weight on the foot, renewed tearing takes place and the pain becomes severe.
HOW IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS TREATED? Treatment options vary according to symptoms. If the pain is caused by over-pronation and continuous torquing of the fascia, an aggressive more rigid orthotic is needed to stop the torquing and stabilize the forefoot. If the pain is found in the middle area of the plantar fascia, aggressive rearfoot control is needed and can be found with orthotics. Since the problem is the over-pronation, orthotics and footwear that control pronation and arch elongation should be used. The average person can expect a 20-25% improvement every 2 weeks until complete recovery, which generally takes 2 to 3 months.
Wearing proper support is only part of the solution for plantar fasciitis. Stretching exercises should be utilized daily. Additionally, sufferers from plantar fasciitis should avoid heavy walking/running/exercise until the inflammation has subsided. People with plantar fasciitis should not walk around the house barefoot. Wearing a support slipper or sock will help support the foot around the home.
BEST SHOES AND SANDALS FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS The best shoes and sandals for heel pain will either have built-in arch support or have enough room to fit a custom orthotic. The best option for Plantar Fasciitis is usually a molded orthotic and a supportive shoe. Many athletic shoes from New Balance are very supportive and have removable insoles to accommodate orthotics. Many sandals come with built-in orthotic footbeds. Majority of the Plantar Fasciitis sandals we carry have built-in orthotic footbeds that help relieve the pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
Dansko makes great work shoes for plantar fasciitis. Dansko’s clogs have great support and are widely used by professionals who are on their feet all day such as teachers, nurses, chefs, and doctors. The stiff soles on Dansko shoes are great for plantar fasciitis heel pain.