Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tar-fas-i-itis) is one of the most common causes of foot pain experienced by women - and most who have had it will tell you it's a major pain in the arch. It's key eye-watering feature is pain in the heel or arch of the foot, first thing in the morning and after rest, also after periods of standing, walking & exercise. Sound familiar?
Emily Braidwood's female founder Emily Smith is a highly experienced Australian Sports Podiatrist and believes that understanding the cause of Plantar Fasciitis leads to the most successful treatment and prevention of reoccurrence.
Emily describes the plantar fascia as a thick fibrous band of soft tissue that runs under the arch of the foot, from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. Its job is to elongate and contract, much like a rubber band, to prevent collapse of the bones of the foot and provide a spring-like mechanism during walking, running & exercise.
"Problems occur when the plantar fascia becomes overloaded and/or over stretched. Much like pulling on a rubber band, small micro-tears occur in the plantar fascia, kicking off an inflammatory response. From this point it's almost impossible to settle down the pain without giving your feet some love and actioning the underlying factors." - Emily Smith, Sports Podiatrist & Founder of Emily Braidwood.
What most people don't realise is that fashion shoes are the silent cause of the majority of plantar fasciitis cases. When poorly supported shoes are worn on a regular basis, the foot muscles are heavily recruited to provide additional support to the foot and poor foot posture is exacerbated. This leads to tightness and soft tissue contracture under the foot. This in itself can create the onset of pain, or it only takes a small amount of additional load i.e. running on unstable ground, stepping off a curb or doing a burpee to tip the plantar fascia over the edge and into an inflammatory state.
Other common causes of plantar fasciitis include flat feet, high arches and training errors.