Freese, Clark and Storrar - physiotherapists

Plantar Fasciitis

 

plantarfasciitis

Your plantar fascia is a strong band of fibrous tissue (like a ligament) that extends from your heel to your middle foot bones. It supports the arch of your foot and also contributes to shock-absorbsion in your foot. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition affecting the area closest to the heel.

Around 1 in 10 people will suffer from plantar fasciitis at some stage in their life. Plantar fasciitis can occur at any age however, it is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60 years. It is also more common in women than men. It is also common in athletes.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Gradual onset of pain
  • Pain over the inner aspect of your heel
  • Worse first thing in the morning or after long periods of rest
  • An ache after activity
  • Weight bearing on the foot may become painful
  • May be aggravated by stretching activities for example, walking upstairs or walking on your toes

Causes

  • Dropped (“flat feet”) or high arches of the feet
  • Poor walking pattern (excessively walking on the inside or outside of your feet)
  • Change in exercising surface for example changing from running on a track to running on the road
  • Change in exercise intensity
  • Wearing shoes with poor cushioning or support
  • Increased body weight
  • Excessive muscle tightness, and/or strength imbalances in you hamstrings, gluteal and calf muscle. This affects your normal walking pattern
  • Tightness in your Achilles tendon or decreased ankle mobility

Diagnosis

Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose this condition and advice if further investigation, for example an ultra sound scan, is required.

Management

  • Avoid/ reduce any aggravating activities
  • Ice
  • Stretching the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles (calf and hamstring)
  • Self-massage with a frozen bottle
  • Pain medication: as advised by your pharmacist or doctor

Physiotherapy management includes

  • Assessing and addressing your lower body and foot biomechanics
  • Providing you with appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Pain management: Soft tissue massage, electrotherapy, strapping
  • Advice on modification of foot wear
  • Advising on possible need for foot orthotics

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