I’d say 80% of the patients presenting in my office tell me they have plantar fasciitis. Myth buster, they often do as this is one of the most broad stroke diagnoses that exist. Plantar means “bottom of,” fascia is a type of tissue, and “itis” translates to “a condition of.” Therefore I am sure you can see why this is such a common diagnosis. Many times I ask people “Who diagnosed you with this condition?” Most often they came to the conclusion themselves. Needless to say there are more than a few causes of plantar fasciitis, some of which are easy to work with. Because so many patients diagnose themselves with this condition, it seems pervasive. Rest assured we have a large degree of success helping people who state they have plantar fasciitis.
There are a lot of potential risk factors for plantar fasciitis and this list will include only a few of them. Statistically speaking, females fall prey to this more often than their male counterparts. People who work on their feet all day also have a higher incidence. Persons of middle age (40 to 60 years old) seem to experience more incidence of plantar fasciitis than the general population as well. Excessively high or low arches can be a contributing factor. Similarly, improper mechanics in the forefoot, ankle or arch are an obvious causative factor. In that case, custom orthotics can be an integral tool to reducing the symptoms. Being overweight can also contribute to arch pain due to the added stresses placed on the arch.
There are more than a few solutions for plantar fasciitis. One of the methods I urge people to try is the “stretch and strengthen” approach. This involves rolling a lacrosse ball up and down the plantar fascia to stretch the tissues. There is also an exercise where you lay a towel on a smooth surface such as linoleum or hardwood, then use your toes to draw the towel towards you. This will help in strengthening the tissues of the plantar surface of the foot. Finally, a pair of custom orthotics to insure you have the proper mechanics in the lower kinetic chain can reduce or eliminate plantar fascia pain.