Plantar fasciitis is a very common and more often than not a persistent type of overuse/ repetitive strain injury, affecting runners, walkers and people who hike, but also anyone who stands for a living- particularly on hard surfaces. Plantar fasciitis and heel pain can be a frustrating and difficult condition to manage, and can have varying reasons as to why it’s come about, so it’s important to have all of this assessed and determined for your individual case.
- Causes mainly foot arch pain and can cause heel pain in conjunction
- Morning foot pain is trademark symptom
- Other terms to describe can be plantar heel pain or plantar foot pain due to the presentation of the condition
It is estimated to affect about 10% of runners, and the general public in similar proportions, especially common in runners and menopausal women. Most people recover from plantar fasciitis with some rest, arch support and exercise, and stretching, however, it can be a very stubborn condition often sticking around for quite a while often causing issues in your daily life and exercise regime.
What is heel pain?
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury and an inflammatory thickening and/or degeneration of the plantar fascia, describing the pain felt on the bottom aspect of the foot and heel bone. It is a very common foot condition, however, the exact causes of plantar heel pain is mostly unknown. The plantar fascia is a sheet of connective tissue- which we term ‘fascia’, which stretches from the heel to the toes, spanning the arch of the foot, from the bones at the back to the bones at the front. It acts in the part of shock absorption, enabling your foot to move throughout your gait, and supports the arch of your foot, and comes into trouble when the load put throughout the area is more than what the individual is used to. As the plantar fascia doesn’t have a lot of elastic qualities to it like muscular tissue does, this is one of the reasons why it doesn’t respond well to large amounts of stress, stretch or loading. When the plantar fascia is overloaded or overstretched, this can result in the inflammation and/or degeneration of the fascia of the plantar area, resulting in heel pain and the condition we call ‘plantar fasciitis’.
Some contributing factors of plantar fasciitis:
- Menopausal women
- Athletes & runners
- People who stand on hard surfaces for much of their work
- Increase in activity and/ or loading through the feet
- Excess weight
- Shoes that don’t fit well
- Different foot types such as flat feet or high arches
- Issues further up the chain such as tightness in calf, decreased mobility of the ankle joint etc.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Symptoms are usually felt on the underside (plantar) area of the foot, in the arch of the foot and/ or in the heel. It is usually characterised by:
- Pain first thing in the morning when getting out of bed
- Will feel slightly better after feeling warmed up but won’t go away
- Aggravated by loading or long days on your feet
- Pain throughout the foot through the plantar area, around the heel and under the arch
- Painful at the end of the day
- Inability to sometimes walk/ run properly, painfully affecting your gait
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
The main focus is to figure out what works for you as an individual. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for the next, so therefore, we work together to find the best treatment plan for you and what your activities of daily living require of you. The first step is to reduce the loading that is going through the plantar fascia and the aggravating factors, and then combine treatment with a thorough rehab program which will help the area to respond and adapt to loading in the future.
Treatment will include assessment of your biomechanics and potential aggravating factors and reduce these if possible. We will begin to understand how your body is moving to gain clarity around how we can best alter this to support the recovery of the plantar region. It’s important to look at the lower limb as a whole unit, so treatment will often involve hands on work done through the calf, upper leg and glutes and lower back to establish a connection with the whole unit. You will be also given a rehab protocol that will work for your individual circumstances, which is essential in the recovery and load re-introduction for the foot and plantar fascia. You may also be given some stretching and self- massage techniques to help manage and further progress the condition to functionality. The aim of everything you will be given is to get you back to being as functional as possible, and able to withstand loading through the foot again. Plantar fasciitis can take some time to recover, and it can be a slow process, but when aided with the right tools and strategies, it can be a little less painful (mentally and physically!).
Get in touch with us if you need any further assistance! Call 9917 2408 or book online for a consult either at Myolab Brunswick East or Myolab South Melbourne.