FOOTWEAR AND PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Commonly, people with plantar fasciitis have been using flat, flexible, and less supportive shoes. The lack of support is stressful on the plantar fascia and the heel, especially for those people with a weaker foot type. If these patients use the softer shoes for long enough periods, or as the main shoe, the stress can lead to plantar fasciitis or other types of heel pain. In these circumstances, it is essential that the patient has their foot type and shoes assessed. This will help to treat plantar fasciitis. Interestingly, higher heeled shoes for women are not the cause of plantar fasciitis, although these shoes do cause tightness in the calf muscles. Most women report, “my heel pain feels better in a high heel”.
People with higher arches receive less support from shoes and their liners, as there is less contact through the sole/arch area. The plantar fascia runs through this arch area and can become taught and strained. Functional running shoes and hiking shoes still lack the arch support that some feet need. The lack of support and the tightness can lead to heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
The flat foot (pes planus) is often caused by weak ligaments (ligament laxity). The plantar fascia works harder, along with other muscles and tendons, to compensate for this inherent weakness. The increased load can lead to plantar fasciitis or heel pain in general if the increased load is sufficient to cause strain, tearing, and inflammation.
The most common calf stretches place a certain amount of strain through the sole of the foot and therefore, the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis can come about when the patient stretches too much, or too hard. Some patients go through a rehab period following an injury or surgery and will develop plantar fasciitis due to the stretching technique they used. This is not to say that calf stretching should be avoided, but more so that technique is important.
BODYWEIGHT AND PLANTAR FASCIITIS
A large percentage of patients that we treat with plantar fasciitis are carrying more body weight than they want to or are used to. They often report being overweight and are sometimes attempting to shed a few kilos. The increase in body weight adds more load to the feet and hence more strain on the plantar fascia. Furthermore, the increased body mass means that the calf muscles must work harder to push the patient forwards and so these muscles become tighter and stiff. As mentioned previously, tight calf muscles pull harder on the heel and will most certainly cause a heel pain condition such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis. The irony lies in the fact that these patients are unable to lose weight through their desired walking or other exercise programs as their feet hurt too much. The only way they can lose weight is to engage in non-weight-bearing activities such as swimming.
Regardless of the cause, Plantar Fasciitis is not a condition that we have to live with, like arthritis. It is reversible. https://www.sydneyheelpain.com.au/how-we-treat-heel-pain/