Plantar Fasciitis

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What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition where the band of fibrous tissue at the bottom of your foot (called the “plantar fascia”) becomes inflamed. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain.  

Plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually over time (although there are exceptions).  With proper care and treatment, most cases of plantar fasciitis heal with time.  A foot specialist can guide you through the healing process, and provide options for preventing it from recurring in the future.


What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp or stabbing pain on the underside of the heel. It is especially pronounced with the first few steps taken in the morning and after rest. The pain tends to then subside after walking around, but it can come back with prolonged standing or when getting up after sitting long periods. 

Arch pain can also be a symptom of plantar fasciitis.

Onset is usually gradual and symptoms tend to build over time.  However, on occasion, symptoms can be triggered suddenly by at-risk activities or trauma (i.e.: a misstep or jumping too high). 

For others causes of heel pain see heel spur or Achilles tendonitis.


What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a band of thick connective tissue at the bottom of your foot that supports the arches.  It runs between the heel and the toes. When the plantar fascia is overused, it causes microtears that lead to inflammation, strain and pain.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused or contributed to by the following:

  • Poorly constructed shoes that do not provide enough arch support:  The plantar fascia is responsible for supporting the arches of our feet.  If our shoes don’t have adequate arch support, the plantar fascia has to compensate and then gets overworked, which leads to plantar fasciitis. 
  • Obesity and pregnancy: The extra body weight increases the load on the plantar fascia
  • Participation in high impact sports
  • Occupations that require prolonged standing or walking


How Do I Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis treatment may include:

  • Rest:  This is usually done for the first few weeks of recovery
  • Rolling a tennis ball or frozen water bottle under the foot:  This strengthens the muscles by the arch of the foot.  It also massages and relieves tension in the inflamed plantar fascia. 
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises:  You can view some helpful stretches here.
  • Shockwave Therapy: This non-invasive innovative treatment delivers high energy sound wave pulses to the affected area. It triggers your body’s natural healing response so it can repair the plantar fascia and reduce pain. Shockwave therapy is used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis that persists longer than 6 months.
  • Elastic therapeutic taping techniques to prevent unwanted movements that increase strain on the plantar fascia 
  • Wearing a splint or boot cast to help prevent tightening of the plantar fascia it’s not in use (ie during sleep)
  • Custom orthotics and orthopedic shoesThese will support the arches of your feet and reduce stress on the plantar fascia while it heals.  Orthotics and orthopaedic shoes also encourage proper heel to toe gait, which, in combination with the arch support, can prevent recurrence. (Click here to see our recommended shoes for plantar fasciitis.
  • Over-the-counter insoles: Superfeet Green is specially constructed to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.  
  • Taking ill-fitting footwear out of rotation

If you have persistent heel pain, schedule a diagnostic assessment with one of our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists).  A foot specialist can determine your foot type, gait pattern, the underlying causes of your heel pain, and make footwear recommendations. Our knowledgeable staff can then help you find supportive footwear that best suits your foot type, gait pattern, and activities.  

Use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338) to book your assessment. Our Toronto foot clinic is open Mondays to Saturdays and alternating Sundays. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic.

Risk Factors

What Risk Factors Are Associated With Plantar Fasciitis?

Anyone can get plantar fasciitis; however the following risk factors make a person more vulnerable:

  • Flimsy, unsupportive footwear: Wearing flat shoes with soft soles that don’t adequately absorb shock or support your arches puts extra stress on the plantar fascia.
  • High-impact sports: Certain types of exercise put extra strain on the plantar fascia, such as long-distance running, ballet, and high intensity interval training
  • Arch abnormalities: Having flat feet or high arches can overburden the plantar fascia 
  • Faulty foot mechanics
  • Occupations that require you to be on your feet for a prolonged period of time (i.e. teachers, nurses, restaurant servers and factory workers). 
  • Increased body mass index

Fortunately, a foot specialist can help you reduce some of these risk factors by recommending footwear and orthopaedic supports to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.


How Do I Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

To prevent plantar fasciitis and heel pain, here are various foot care solutions to consider:

  • Wear supportive shoes with good shock absorption and arch support:  The plantar fascia is responsible for supporting the arches of our feet.  Shoes with good arch support alleviate strain and excessive stress on the plantar fascia. 
  • Avoid high heels
  • Replace worn-out running shoes
  • Switch to lower-impact sports such as cycling or swimming
  • Routinely stretch your arches, Achilles tendons, and calves
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Address any biomechanical abnormalities: Our chiropodists can perform a biomechanical assessment and cast you for custom orthotics to correct any biomechanical issues that are causing excessive strain on the plantar fascia.

Our specially catered selection of shoes at our foot clinic can help prevent plantar fasciitis by ensuring your foot is properly supported during your everyday activities. If you need assistance choosing shoes, our knowledgeable staff can help you out.

Got plantar fasciitis? Contact us at 416-769-FEET (3338) to learn more about our plantar fasciitis solutions, or use our online booking form below.

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.