In this guide, we will be looking at plantar fasciitis and understanding the root causes of this very painful injury. By better understanding the causes of plantar fasciitis you will better understand how to treat and prevent it!
Did you know that heel pain affects more than 50% of individuals worldwide and one of the main causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis? Anyone can get plantar fasciitis and it is brought on by the inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which is found at the bottom of your foot, and attaches the heel bone to the toes. This strong fibrous band of tissue, along with the muscle and bones, forms the arch of the foot and helps to support your feet and shift weight whilst you walk. If you strain your plantar fascia, it will become weak, swollen, and inflamed. This may cause pain and localized inflammation around your arch and heel.
Plantar fasciitis pain generally impacts the bottom of the heel or arch. Most people will describe the pain as a sharp stabbing, dull ache, or a burning sensation.
The pain is often most severe whilst taking your first steps of the day after getting up in the morning, or standing up after a lengthy period of rest where no weight is placed on your foot. The reason for this is because the fascia will tighten during periods of resting the feet, this makes the plantar fascia more sensitive to stretching and weight bearing.
Sustained activity involving your feet can cause pain to flare up again because of increased stretching of the plantar fascia. Generally, when someone has plantar fasciitis only one foot tends to be affected, however, it is not uncommon for both heels to be affected at the same time. If you are suffering from foot pain at night, you might have a different foot problem, such as arthritis, or a nerve problem such as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Plantar fasciitis is most frequently caused by repetitive strain injury to the arches of your feet which can cause micro-tears to form weakening and inflaming the plantar fascia. There are a number of factors that can cause an increased risk of damaging and inflaming the plantar fascia and developing plantar fasciitis, for example:
Causes of plantar fasciitis
Over pronation during the gait cycle is the most common cause of damage to the plantar fascia. The foot and ankle require your foot to pronate during the gait cycle to make the muscles of the hips and legs work to function properly and efficiently. Pronation arises as your bodyweight is shifted from the heel to the forefoot when walking or running and causes the foot to naturally roll inwards. Overpronation, however, is when the foot lands on outside of the heel, then rolls inward (pronates) too much, shifting your bodyweight to inner edge instead of the ball of the foot. Overpronation can contribute to excessive stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, which can cause acute discomfort and lead to plantar fasciitis as well as other foot problems.
Supination (also called under pronation) like pronation, supination is a natural part of all walking and running. During a normal stride, your rear-foot needs to roll inward slightly once your heel hits the ground, helping to absorb shock as well as, helping your foot and leg adapt to uneven surfaces. Over-supination is when the arch of the foot becomes too high and an excessive amount of weight is put on the edges of the foot. Over supination (also known as hyper-supination) is a lot less common than overpronation and can trigger a wide range of different foot problems for runners and other athletes, because the alignment of the foot is less able to provide you with shock absorption. This can mean those who supinate are at greater risk of damaging the plantar fascia and developing plantar fasciitis. Overpronation can also affect your body’s overall alignment. Heel bone, leg, thigh-bone, and hip rotate outwards, causing your pelvis to tilt, which can cause back pain and problems.
How your foot shape can increase your risk of developing foot injuires
If you have a particular foot shape, such as very high arches or very flat feet, you may at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. The shape of your foot can change the way your weight is spread across your feet when you are walking or even just standing. If the weight distribution of your feet is a bit off, this may increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis. Irregular foot shapes can also cause overpronation and excessive supination as well.
If you were to examine an average adult foot from the inside, you would see an upward curve in the middle, this is called the arch of the foot. If you have flat feet then it means that this arch is totally flat, making it possible for the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor whilst standing up. Flat feet are often are not something that should be a worry, as it estimated 20–30% of the general population and very few people have foot problems because of their flat feet. However, some people with flat feet can have associated problems biomechanical problems such as overpronation that can cause excessive strain onto the arches of your feet and cause plantar fasciitis.
The main causes of developing flat feet are:
- Obesity, pregnancy or repetitive impact on a hard surface which can weaken the arch, causing flat feet to develop.
- Injury or inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon, that attaches from your lower leg, down your ankle, to the middle section of the arch.
- Weakened muscles due to aging or heavy strain placed on the feet.
- Wearing shoes that don’t provide proper arch support may be a contributing factor as well.
Cavus foot (High arches)
Cavus foot is when the foot has an arch that is too high. High foot arches are typically far less common than flat feet. High arches are often brought on by a bone or nerve condition. A high-arched foot will usually lack the required flexibility for proper shock absorption and will tend to roll supinate, increasing the risk of developing plantar fasciitis and other foot problems such as ankle sprains. You can find out if you have high arches feet by examining the footprint your feet leave behind on wet sand. A high-arched foot should leave a very thin footprint because the arch area will not have touched the ground.
Other causes are:
Tight Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon is connected to the plantar fascia. If your calf muscles that connect to the Achilles tendon are tight, the ankle will be less flexible, and the plantar fascia also tightens, increasing your risk of overstretching the tendon.
Obesity. Being overweight or obese can place you at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis, this is because of the excessive pressure placed on your arches that your plantar fascia is not designed to cope with.
Being on your feet for too long. If you happen to be on your feet for long periods of time, or if you do lots of walking, running, especially if you are not used to it or if you had a much more sedentary lifestyle beforehand.
Poorly fitted shoes. Wearing ill-fitted shoes that have soft soles and poor arch support may also cause plantar fasciitis. You should throw away any shoes (or wear less frequently) which have thin soles or poor arch support, or shoes which do not fit your feet properly. Consistently wearing high heels may also cause your Achilles tendon to shorten over time, causing inflexibility in your foot which can bring about biomechanical imbalances.
Ageing. Your plantar fascia have to endure a lot of wear and tear over your lifetime and as a result, the plantar fascia can weaken as you get older, that is why plantar fasciitis is more prevent in people between the ages of 40 to 70 years old.
If you have plantar fasciitis then you may also develop what is known as a heel spur. A heel spur is a calcium growth on the underside of the heel bone.
The purpose for the heel spurs is that is your body’s response to the continual stretching and pulling of the plantar fascia ligament away from the heel bone. Due to the fact that the plantar fascia itself cannot get any longer, the bone will try to ‘aid’ the ligament and grow in order to protect the heel bone. Even though heel spurs more or less painless in most cases, they can cause heel pain in those with plantar fasciitis.
Ignoring plantar fasciitis can sometimes result in chronic heel pain which may prevent you from walking. In some circumstances people may change the way that they walk to help minimize the pain caused by plantar fasciitis, however, this can lead to other foot, knee, hip or back problems and worsen the plantar fasciitis in the long run.
Stretch Regularly. Making your sure that your calf muscles are stretched out and limber can help to reduce the strain on the plantar fascia. Stretching your calves and Achilles tendon couldn’t be easier. Simply, stand on the edge of a step, placing your body weight on the balls of your feet, then slightly bend your knees for around 20-30 seconds once you have done this you should straighten your leg and then repeat the stretch 5-8 more times on each leg. You should do this stretch throughout the day for the best effect.
Wear Supportive Footwear.
Wearing orthopedic shoes or orthotic inserts is a simple, excellent way to naturally reposition the foot and correct biomechanical problems in the foot causing the plantar fasciitis. A groundbreaking study shows wearing orthopedic shoes can in 9 out of 10 cases successfully reduce heel pain if the shoes are worn continually during. However, most people would not be caught dead in public wearing a pair of orthopedic shoes because of how ugly they look, If Orthopaedic shoes are not your cup of tea, then wearing a pair of orthotic arch support insoles is also another great way of treating of plantar fasciitis. Unlike orthopedic shoes, you don’t have to compromise your style and can wear them inside just about any type of shoe! Orthotics are commonly used to help relieve the tension and resultant inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.
Wear orthotic insoles
Orthotic insoles help to realign and the feet and prevent your feet from overpronating or supinating by correcting the function of your feet via arch support and orthotic compression technology.
In some cases, some individuals may require more support than just at the heel and may want to buy a pair of insoles for plantar fasciitis instead. Orthotic insoles are designed to help correct foot biomechanical issues that may be causing Plantar fasciitis by supporting the foot in a more natural way. Orthotic insoles usually provide you with extra padding and support throughout the entire sole of the foot.
Orthotic insoles are designed to help treat and prevent a wide range of different injuries and not just plantar fasciitis.
Due to the fact that your feet are the supporting foundation of your entire body an imbalance in your feet can affect your entire posture and cause a wide range of problems affecting your lower limbs, hips and lower back. Orthotic insoles use a range of different technologies to help protect your feet from damage and injury.
Inbuilt arch support is widely used in a number of different insoles. Arch support is designed to take the strain off your plantar fascia ligament and restrict biomechanical imbalances from occurring during the gait cycle such as overpronation and supination. Orthotic insoles are often made out of shock absorbing materials this is important because if you have a foot injury such as plantar fasciitis your foot will not be able to function as it should leaving you more susceptible to shock damage. If you have a foot injury protecting your foot from shock will help your foot make a faster recovery. Reducing shock can also help to protect your knee and prevent common knee injuries such as knee tendinitis. Some orthotic insoles will have inbuilt metatarsal pads which will help support the ball of your foot helping to prevent and treat metatarsalgia. You may also find some orthotic insoles that utilize heel cup technology which will help to support your heel, spread damaging pressure underneath your heel and ease tension off the heel and Achilles tendon. Orthotic insoles with heel cups built in are ideal for those who suffer from ankle instabilities and Achilles tendinitis.
You can find a range of different orthotic in our shop. All of our orthotics come with a full 30-day money back guarantee as well. This means if they fail to get rid of your plantar fasciitis you can send them back to us and get your money back!
Heel cups are common orthotics inserts used for treating plantar fasciitis. Heel cups function in a number of different ways to help reduce strain on the plantar fascia and get you back on your feet. Heel cups are designed to help to lift the foot just a little that helps minimize the strain on the Achilles tendon that subsequently helps to decrease the strain on the plantar fascia Heel cups also help to better cushion the feet by spread pressure from underneath the heel and absorb damaging shock, which again helps to lessen the the strain on plantar fascia, especially if you also suffer from a heel spur. Heel cups are the most basic and compact form of orthotics for plantar fasciitis that you can buy. They are often very lightweight and can be fitted into just about any type of shoe. Gel heel cups, are often very flexible and are more comfortable to wear than the more rigid types of insoles for plantar fasciitis.
If wearing orthopedic shoes or even insoles aren’t your thing then wearing night splints can also help! Night splints are designed to pull the foot and toes back whilst you are sleeping so that a light stretch is retained on your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. Generally, we sleep with our feet aiming downwards making the arch of our foot more susceptible to tightening and pain when you take your first steps in the morning. Wearing a night splint is a great way of combating that and help you reduce aches and pains in the morning associated with plantar fasciitis and allow the plantar fascia to heal properly.
What are the best insoles for plantar fasciitis?
These insoles have the very best shock absorption making them ideal not only for treating plantar fasciitis but also other foot and lower limb injuries including shin splints, runners, and jumpers knee.
- The very best shock absorption that you can buy.
- Memory foam cushions and gives your feet a custom level of protection.
- Heel cups protect and support your heels better.
- Perfect for running and wearing during sports.
- Flat arch support
These FootReviver insoles are the perfect all-round insoles providing you with excellent arch support and shock absorption to keep you on your feet if you have plantar fasciitis. They work by correcting the most common biomechanical and functional issues that cause the injury such as overpronation and under pronation allowing your feet to recover properly without danger of causing more damage and inflammation to the plantar fascia stopping your plantar fasciitis from coming back.
- Lightweight compact design
- Rigid arch support keeping strain and tension off your feet
- Corrects the balance in your feet
- Ideal for wearing whilst playing sports
- Good level of shock absorption
- Only available in two different sizes
These insoles are perfect for runners suffering from plantar fasciitis. They have been designed with the very best orthopedic support technology that will hold your arches in places and correct any biomechanical problems that may be contributing to your injury. They are super lightweight so they won't weight down your shoes and can be fitted inside any type of shoes quickly and easily.
- Memory foam layer for extra comfort and support
- Heel cup keeps your heels protected and properly supported
- Inbuilt arch support helps ease pressure off the plantar fascia helping your feet to recover faster
- Has added metatarsal pads to ease and prevent metatarsalgia(ball of foot pain)
- Not as affordable as other insoles