Plantar Fascia Strain (Foot Arch Strain)

Plantar fascia strain

A Plantar fascia strain is a tear of the soft tissue under the arch of your foot. It may occur suddenly, or develop over time through overuse.

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Medically reviewed by Dr Chaminda Goonetilleke, 20th Jan. 2022

Plantar fascia strain symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Localised tenderness and pain under your foot, between your heel and forefoot.
  • You may have felt a sudden sharp pain under your heel or foot arch at the time of injury.
  • A nodule or lump may be present in the plantar fascia.

What is a Plantar fascia strain?

A Plantar fascia strain is a tear of the fascia which forms part of the arch under your foot.

Anatomy

plantar fascia image

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.

Causes

A plantar fascia strain might result from one single traumatic incident, resulting in sudden pain, or may gradually occur over a period of time.

Treatment of a plantar fascia strain

Rest

Rest is important to allow your injury time to heal. It may be difficult to rest your foot so use crutches if necessary to take the weight off the injured leg.

Cold therapy

Apply a cold therapy compress wrap 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.

Taping

Plantar fasciitis taping

Tape the arch of your foot to provide support and protection to the injured tissues. Our simple foot arch taping technique significantly reduces the load on the fascia, aiding the healing process.

Electrotherapy

Your physio may use electrotherapy such as ultrasound to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. This applies high-frequency sound waves into your tissues providing a micro-massage effect.

Massage

Plantar fasciitis massage

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.

Exercises

A full foot and ankle stretching and strengthening program are advised 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.

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