The plantar fascia, or arch ligament, is a band that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot. A strain or rupture to this is quite common which may cause a small lump to appear. A plantar fascia strain might result from one single traumatic incident, resulting in a sudden pain, or may gradually occur over a period of time.
Plantar fascia strain symptoms
Symptoms of a plantar fascia strain include localised tenderness and pain over the plantar fascia, which runs under the foot from the heel to the forefoot. There may be a sudden sharp pain at the time of injury under the heel or arch of the foot. A nodule or lump may be present in the plantar fascia, which might indicate a partial rupture.
Treatment of a plantar fascia strain
Rest is important to allow the injury time to heal. It may be difficult to rest the foot so use crutches if needed to take the weight off the injured leg. Apply cold therapy as soon as possible and every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Later this can be reduced as the acute phase passes, which will be 48 hours or more depending on the severity of the injury.
A sports injury professional can tape the arch of the foot to provide support. The simple plantar fascia taping technique significantly reduces the load on the fascia, aiding the healing process. They may also use electrotherapy such as ultrasound to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
After the initial acute phase, sports massage may be beneficial in helping to restore the plantar fascia to its original condition and improving flexibility. If the fascia is allowed to tighten up then plantar fasciitis may come on as a possible secondary condition.
A full foot and ankle stretching and strengthening program is advisable to restore strength in the plantar fascia. Calf stretching exercises, as well as plantar fascia stretching, are important. If the fascia is very tight then wearing a plantar fasciitis night splint overnight can be useful. A plantar fascia strain injury usually heals well within two to three weeks.