What is Planter Fasciitis and how can sports people avoid it?

By in Health & Fitness

Thursday 11th January 2018

By Oliver Eaton, ProHealth Clinic

Planter fasciitis is a debilitating condition defined as inflammation of the flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. This tissue contains a combination of muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can either effect one or both feet at a time, although it is most common to only effect one at a time.

There are many different things that may cause this tissue to become inflamed:

Collapsed arch – If your calf muscles are weak or you are not wearing supportive footwear then the arch in your foot runs the risk of collapsing. When it collapses it puts pressure on the tissue on the underside of your foot every walking step you take. The average person takes approximately 6,000-10,000 steps a day so after a while the tissue starts to become inflamed. Playing sport on top of those thousands of steps a day can exacerbate the inflammation further. This is the most common cause of Planter Fasciitis when it presents on both feet at the same time.

Leg length discrepancy – If an individual has suffered a previous injury anywhere in the legs that has forced them to limp for any period of time, this can cause the pelvis to become misaligned and subsequently causes a small difference in leg lengths. The most common difference is anything up to 1cm. The consequence of this is that the majority of your bodyweight then bears onto the leg that appears longer as opposed to it being evenly distributed between the two legs if they were even in length. Over time, this inflames the tissue on the underside of the foot. This is the most common cause of one-sided Planter Fasciitis.

There are many approaches to take to help prevent Planter Fasciitis from occurring:

Arch support – You want to ensure the aches in your feet are supported as much as possible when walking day-to-day, to prevent any sporting activity putting too much strain through the tissue on the underside of your feet. Make sure the arch support you purchase isn’t too hard that it inflames the tissue further or too soft that it doesn’t support the arch at all.

Calf strengthening exercises – The calf muscles attach under the arch so strengthening them can help you to maintain a supported arch. Isometric static calf raises are the most effective exercise to build strength quickly. Hold yourself in the raised position for as long as you can, 3 or 4 times a day for 3 weeks. Then to maintain the strength perform the exercise once a day.

Planter fascia rolling – One of the most effective ways of preventing planter fasciitis is giving the planter fascia a regular massage with a spikey physio ball. The best time to do this would be straight after sport or at the end of the day when the tissue is warm and loose. The warmer the tissue, the more of the planter fascia muscles the spikey ball is able to access and massage.


Oliver Eaton is a qualified and registered osteopath, Medical Acupuncturist and Musculoskeletal Injection Therapist. He specialises in the treatment of arthritis and headaches/migraines with patients all over the UK and Europe. Much of Oliver’s specialties were learnt through personal experience; suffering from a series of chronic conditions from which he made a full recovery using alternative medicine approaches. This sparked his passion for specialising in the treatment of patients with chronic pain. At 28 years old Oliver is one of the youngest Harley Street clinic owners, achieving results with patients who have previously had no success with some of the top medical consultants in the country.

Website: www.prohealthclinic.co.uk