Too much physical stress is never a good thing, just like in the case of plantar fasciitis patients, who feel intense pain when their plantar fascia, a strong bowstring-like ligament running from the heel bone to the tip of your foot, is stretched too far and becomes inflamed.
The inflammation usually occurs where this ligament fastens to your heel bone.1 Although the plantar fascia is able to absorb stress, excess pressure in the heel bone and soft tissues is considered to be a major cause of plantar fasciitis.2
In some cases, your foot’s pronation, or its inward rolling motion just after it lands on the ground, becomes excessive to the point that it leads to pain.3 This typically occurs in your subtalar joint, or the joint below your ankle.4
Your Footwear Can Fan the Flames for Plantar Fasciitis
The next time you purchase a pair of shoes, don’t just think about how good they look on your feet. Make sure to examine how comfortable they are and how they are made and structured, since these could influence your risk of becoming affected with plantar fasciitis.
According to the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc., shoes with high heels, hard soles, poor support and inadequate sizing and width often have poor cushioning. These types of shoes call for more flexibility in your calf muscles by increasing foot length and requiring the foot to bend further back while walking.5
However, if your foot isn’t able to bend back a little further, it leads to increased tension on your plantar fascia.6 Tighter calf muscles, meanwhile, make it hard for you to flex your foot and bring your toes upwards towards your shin.7
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
Apart from these aforementioned causes, there are also risk factors that predispose you to plantar fasciitis, such as:8,9,10
• Obesity: sudden weight gain can increase pressure on your plantar fascia, which could then lead to plantar fasciitis.
• Pregnancy: pregnant women often experience plantar fasciitis, particularly during the late stages, because the added weight places extra strain on their feet.11
• Biomechanical flaws: these include people who have flat or high-arched feet and/or a tight Achilles tendon.
• Having an occupation that keeps you on your feet:12 people who spend most of their working hours walking or standing on hard surfaces such as factory workers, restaurant servers and teachers can injure their plantar fascia.
• Sudden increases in training mileage, beginning speedwork or switching surfaces: because these are often new additions or changes to your routine, it may cause excess strain on your feet and could potentially damage other joints or ligaments as well.