Are You At Risk Of Developing Plantar Fasciitis?
Have you ever wondered what causes plantar fasciitis?
In this blog, we’re going to talk you through the various risk factors that are often associated with the condition. You will also discover how you can make small changes that may reduce your chances of experiencing pain and discomfort in the heel of your foot.
First of all – what is plantar fasciitis?
If you notice that the bottom of your foot is often sore or uncomfortable when you walk, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis.
This condition is caused when tiny tears appear on the surface of the fibrous band of tissue that stretches from your heel to your toes – otherwise known as the plantar fascia. This tissue damage leads to pain and inflammation at the front or in the centre of the heel bone. You’ll find that it often feels worse first thing in the morning, or right after exercise.
What are the risk factors?
Some of us are more likely to suffer from the condition than others. Here’s a list of physical factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis over time:
High arches, aka pes cavus
If the plantar fascia needs to work harder to support an extra-high arch, it will be under more pressure, and damage will be more likely to occur.
If your feet are prone to rolling inwards as you walk – which is otherwise known as over pronation – your plantar fascia may struggle to cope with this extra movement and will be more susceptible to wear and tear. The customisable insoles on offer from OrthoSole can help you correct excessive pronation.
Weak plantar flexor muscles
The muscles that run alongside the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot provide much-needed support during movement. If these muscles aren’t as strong as they should be, the plantar fascia will need to overcompensate for their weakness, and may become damaged as a result.
A tight Achilles tendon
If your Achilles tendon is tight, your ankle will have a restricted range of motion. And because you will not be able to flex your foot fully, the plantar fascia may become tight too, leading to even more discomfort!
If you are carrying extra weight, or have experienced sudden weight gain, you will naturally be putting extra strain on your plantar fascia.
Excessive standing or walking
If you regularly remain upright for long periods of time, expect your plantar fascia to bear the brunt of the strain. Take the pressure off your feet by scheduling in seated breaks wherever possible.
High impact exercise
Any type of exercise that places pressure on the lower body, such as running, jogging, dancing or jumping, will increase your chances of developing the condition. You are especially likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you over-train or significantly increase your training activities without allowing your body to get used to your new regime. Always introduce new exercise routines slowly to avoid damage to your plantar fascia (and any other part of your body, for that matter!).
Too little exercise!
You may have already assumed that too much exercise can place strain on the plantar fascia, but did you know that too little activity can contribute to heel pain, too? If you remain inactive for a long time, the plantar fascia shortens and becomes less flexible. It’s important to incorporate some movement into your daily routine to keep the muscle strong and agile.
Asymmetrical leg lengths
It’s thought that around 70% of us have one leg slightly shorter than the other. In many cases, a difference of around a centimetre or so won’t cause any issues – but those with a higher discrepancy in length can experience pain in their knees, hips and feet, along with plantar fasciitis.
Wearing high heeled shoes
Yes, ladies (and some gentlemen) – regularly wearing high heels places a great amount of strain on your foot and can cause damage to your plantar fascia over time. Our advice? Swap platforms for flat shoes every now and then.
Can heel spurs cause plantar fasciitis?
Contrary to popular belief, plantar fasciitis is not caused by heel spurs. In fact, research tells us that it is in fact the other way round; overstretching the plantar fascia can lead to the bony protrusion forming under the sole of the foot!
By addressing some or all of the risk factors mentioned here – especially those that are directly affected by your lifestyle choices – you can reduce your chances of succumbing to plantar fasciitis. You can also learn more about how insoles can support the treatment of plantar fasciitis on our website.