The plantar fascia is critical for overall functioning of the foot. It’s a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue (like a ligament) that runs from the heel to each of the bones of the toes.
It helps support the arch of the foot by absorbing shock when walking or running and helps protect the many nerves, blood vessels, and muscles of the foot. It’s also the main structure involved when a person is dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Along with supporting and stabilizing the foot, the plantar fascia also has a huge role in gait and biomechanics. Every time we take a step, the heel hits the ground, the front of the foot then lowers and comes in contact with the ground, and finally the heel raises and the toes push off the ground to move the leg forward.
With each cycle of this, the plantar fascia transitions from a slackened position to more tight or taut. This creates an efficient lever to propel the leg forward when walking or running and lessens the strain placed on the foot.
Due to the repetitive nature of this, it can lead to overuse and plantar fasciitis can develop. There are a variety of contributing factors that can lead to this condition, which we will be covering in next week’s blog!