What is it
The Plantar Fascia is a thick band of connective tissue sitting underneath the foot. It attaches to the bottom of the heel bone and then spreads into 5 separate bands for each of the 5 toes. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and micro tears within the fascia itself usually presenting as heel pain however can occasionally present as midfoot or forefoot pain within the fascial bands.
Role
The role of the Plantar Fascia is to aid the foot in supination (rolling out). Naturally the foot pronates (rolls inwards) to aid in shock absorption whilst the bones in the foot are in a ‘loose pack’ position. It’s not very efficient to step forward off a floppy unsupported foot therefore the foot needs to resupinate into a ‘close pack’ position. This creates a rigid midfoot that enables the forefoot to be used as a lever. As the heel lifts off the ground naturally the big toe will bend tightening the Plantar Fascia aiding the muscles in the leg to resupinate the foot.
Cause
There are several causes of Plantar Fasciitis just about all of them involve too much tension being placed through the tissue. Flat feet, excessive pronation, hypermobility, obesity, an occupation where you are either standing for long periods or extremely active are amongst the most common.
How orthotics will help
Orthotics aid in the treatment as well as prevention of Plantar Fasciitis by bringing the ground up to meet the foot. This in turn controls the speed at which the foot is allowed to pronate (roll in) as well as controlling how much pronation is allowed to occur. Thereby taking the tension off the Plantar Fascia allowing the body to repair itself.