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Plantar Fasciitis

The problem

  • The plantar fascia is a broad, fibrous band of tissue between the heel and the base of the toes that helps support the arch of the foot
  • The plantar fascia plays an important role in normal foot biomechanics during gait
  • If the plantar fascia becomes inflamed it can cause heel pain

Interesting facts

  • One study has estimated that the plantar fascia is responsible for carrying up to 14% of the total load of the foot
  • Plantar fasciitis is common in runners and individuals who are on their feet for long periods of time
  • Plantar fasciitis occurs most frequently in individuals aged 40-60 years, and is more common in women than in men
  • Women who are pregnant and individuals who are overweight also have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis

What you can expect/look out for

  • Plantar fasciitis usually causes sharp pain in the heel
  • Pain is often worst with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning
  • Pain may also occur with prolonged standing 

Hints for self management

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Participate in lower impact exercise, such as cycling and swimming
  • Stretch
  • Wear sensible shoes that have shock absorption capabilities and support the arch

Management options

  • Anti-inflammatory medication may provide some pain relief
  • Taping to provide more support for the foot
  • Physiotherapy guided program to stretch the plantar fascia and strengthen supporting muscles
  • Medication or injections to reduce inflammation
  • Rest to allow structures to heal

More information

  • During gait, while the foot is on the floor, the plantar fascia is continually elongating.
  • As you move to push off through the toes, the plantar fascia tenses and causes the arch of the foot to elevate, a phenomenon known as the Windlass Effect.
  • It is believed that this spring-like behavior helps with energy conservation and efficiency of movement



At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.



Contact us today – 9252 5770


This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.

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