Plantar fasciitis is a condition of the foot where the plantar muscles and connective tissue on the bottom of the foot are inflamed. With this condition there are symptoms that may include: • pain in the foot, especially the heel upon weight-bearing • pain worsens when heel is pressed down or when walking on the balls of the foot • eventual disability Cause When any one of the three arches of the foot starts to collapse, the pain and symptoms of plantar fasciitis begin. Experts estimate that up to 70% of those with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs. The arches of the foot are meant to absorb most of the shock of the body weight on the foot when we walk, stand, jump or hop. However, once the arches collapse, the tendons and ligaments have to absorb the shock of the body weight – and they weren’t created with this function in mind. Muscles and tendons are not strong enough to do this and will fatigue, causing further issues. Flat feet are associated with the development of plantar fasciitis. Treatment & Prevention Treatment of plantar fasciitis involves icing the foot to decrease the inflammation. This method of treatment starts out with a cool footbath where ice is slowly added to decrease the temperature of the water. Only five minutes may be enough to decrease inflammation found in plantar fasciitis. A second part of treatment is night splints. Many podiatrists will recommend these, which help keep the foot in the proper position so the foot muscles don’t cramp up during the night. Cramping of the foot muscles worsens the condition as the muscles are even more stressed and even more overburdened to accept any stresses of body weight on the foot. A third part of treatment is the use of Orthotic Arch Supports. For High Arches check our our High Arched Orthotic Arch Supports and for Flat-Feet/Low Arched Orthotic Arch Supports. By supporting the foot’s arches and the heel with this type of orthotic. The muscles and tendons can rest a little and start to recover. Someone with plantar fasciitis is making a big mistake if orthotic supports are not used. A fourth part of treatment for plantar fasciitis is extracorporeal shock wave therapy. This one is called ESWT for short. It is a method that is not used by doctors until all other methods fail. The method re-injures the heel so that an overall healing reaction can occur in the foot. Over 90 percent of those with plantar fascitis are healed in one year, using conservative treatment and no surgery.