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Plantar Fasciitis

  • Do you have pain in the heel or sole of the foot?
  • Is it worse first thing in the morning?
  • Are you sore after getting up after resting?

..You may have plantar fasciitis!

The Plantar fascia is a thick and fibrous connective tissue that extends from your calcaneus (heel bone), and runs along the sole of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this tissue structure changes, causing pain under the heel or sole of the foot. Sometimes there may also be a bone spur present. The pain is often worse in the morning, or with the first few steps after prolonged sitting. It usually eases with walking.

What causes plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis may have a number of contributing factors and causes. These include overuse or over-exercise consisting of poor load management, poor biomechanics, or a sudden change in footwear. Our physiotherapists explain each factor below;

Overuse or unaccustomed exercise may contribute to plantar fasciitis. A common example of this is someone who hasn’t exercised for a while then suddenly takes decides to train for a marathon run or the Oxfam walk. We call this the ‘all or none’ phenomenon. Instead of allowing the body and feet to adjust by gradually building up the training loads/time, they run daily for as long as they can. You can imagine the stress on the feet going from zero exercise to a daily high-impact activity like running!

Foot biomechanics in basic terms is the positioning of your feet as you walk or move. If your mechanics are poor ie. your foot rolls in or out, you have a high or low arch, or you have a lack of stability around your ankle this can cause excess strain on your plantar fascia.

A sudden change in footwear or wearing poor footwear alters the loads and forces through your feet. We most commonly see this in summer when people start wearing flat thongs or sandals with a lack of arch support or stability. This causes stress on the plantar fascia.

What can you do about it

If you think you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, a full assessment and treatment by our physiotherapists is essential. This will allow us to firstly confirm the diagnosis, but also identify the causes. Most plantar fasciitis will settle with appropriate management, and include both relief of symptoms as well as help to prevent the pain returning. Physiotherapy treatment will usually include manual on hands-on treatment, taping, exercises, and addressing biomechanical factors or footwear advice.

The sooner you get on to seeing a physiotherapist the better, before it becomes chronic. In the meantime, here are a few tips and exercuses to help settle things in the short term:

  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Freeze a drink bottle, then roll your foot back and forth over it while sitting
  • Roll your foot over a tennis ball or golf ball to self-massage the fascia

To stop your plantar fascia pain for good contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. If you are unsure if physiotherapy will help, give us a call or book a FREE injury pre-assessment and have a chat to our physiotherapists at no risk!