The windlass mechanism is an extremely important function in the foot. It is the foot’s own natural arch supporting mechanism, so any inhibition of this mechanism is going to affect the integrity of the foot and it biomechanics. The plantar fascia or plantar aponeurosis attaches to the bottom of the heel and the base of the toes, so spans the arch of the foot to support it. When the heel lifts off the ground the toes bend relative to the metatarsals, so they tighten this plantar fascia, giving stability to the arch and foot during the propulsive phase of gait.
If there is any issues that affect the integrity of the windlass, then there are often consequences. The arch of the foot will not be able to resist the forces that are applied to it during propulsion and will collapse. This can result in a range of different pathologies such as plantar fasciitis. Also while not being able to support the arch will also contribute to any overpronation and the consequences of that.
If there is any sort of dysfunction of the windlass there are a number of different types of interventions that can be used such as lowering the force to get it established or to get the windlass to initiate or start working earlier.
Plantar fasciitis is common and like any other problem that is common there is so much snake oil that gets marketed for it and bad advice that gets given for it. Because of this, so many cases get mismanaged and what should be an easily managed condition become a chronic difficult to manage problem.
The classic symptoms of plantar fasciitis is pain under the heal that is generally worse when getting up from rest. If you have those symptoms, then there is a pretty good chance that this is what it is. However, there are a few uncommon problems that can produce the same symptoms, hence the need to getting the diagnosis right. There is nothing wrong with self-diagnosis or self management as the simple cases are easy to treat. However, you do need to be aware that not getting one of the more uncommon conditions diagnosed and treated early can lead to a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Plantar fasciitis is due to too much cumulative load in the plantar fascia beyond what the tissue can take. This means that the basic treatment has to be directed at reducing the load and increasing the ability of the tissue to take the load. Any other treatments are just directed at the symptoms and not at these basics make a lower probability of success over the long term. There is so much differing advice been given of differing quality that may or may not be based on the most recent available evidence.
Whatever is going on with your plantar fasciitis, get the right diagnosis first and get the treatment that the scientific evidence has been shown to work better than a placebo, rather than rely on anecdotes and poor quality non-evidence based interventions.