One of the most common causes of pain under the heel or foot arch is plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a think fibrous band of connective tissue on the sole of your foot that extends from the heel to the toes. Repetitive or prolonged activities such as walking or running can place excessive strain on the fascia can lead to damage and inflammation.

Plantar fasciitis may also occur traumatically such as landing with greater forces than the fascia can withstand. In some cases bony spurs can develop in association with plantar fasciitis.

Signs and symptoms

  • Pain underneath the heel and along the inner sole of the foot
  • Ache or stiffness that increases with rest such as pain in the morning
  • Heel pain worse with initial steps but improves with activity as it warms up
  • Patients may experience swelling and tenderness over the plantar fascia
  • As the condition progresses patients may experience symptoms that increases during sport or activity affecting performance and in severe cases walk with a limp or unable to weight bear on the affected leg

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis

  • Poor foot posture – low or high foot arches
  • Wearing shoes with poor support
  • Overweight
  • Pregnant
  • Active or people that undergo inappropriate or excessive training
  • Jobs that being on your feet for long periods
  • Middle aged or older
  • Muscle weakness or tightness

Diagnosis and prognosis

Plantar fasciitis is well diagnosed through a thorough clinical assessment by a physiotherapist but occasionally further investigation through Xray, MRI or ultrasound can be used to assist in diagnosis and severity

Most patients heal with appropriate physiotherapy and in mild cases recover over a few weeks. The longer the condition prolongs for the longer the recovery process so come in for early physiotherapy management!