What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis refers to discomfort and pain under the heel of a person’s foot. The plantar fascia is a tough fibrous tissue which plays many vital roles while walking and running. Heel pain or plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is stressed causing it to become painful and irritated.
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain under the heel of the foot
- Worsening symptoms while making the first steps in the morning
- Difficulty walking larger distances due to increasing pain and discomfort of the heel
Why do i have it?
Perhaps you increased your exercise, running, or gym routine (involving running) too quickly? Have you added hill running recently? Perhaps you’ve recently changed your footwear? Or quite simply you’re standing all day at work on hard surfaces. Either way your foot is not strong enough to support the tasks you’re asking of it.
Other causes can be big toes stiffness, poor ankle mobility, weakness of the gluteal and hamstring muscles. It’s vital the true cause of the problem is identified, it’s no good just treating the symptoms because once they settle and you get back to the things you love, guess what? It’ll come straight back. A good physio will be able to address all factors contributing to your problem.
How do i get it better?
Reduce your standing/running/footwear load immediately. Wherever you can take some time off the feet and this will reduce symptoms by good 30-50% in a short space of time.
We usually have the foot taped for 4-6 weeks, this supports the plantar fascia and helps settle the symptoms. Often a change in footwear may be needed, or even an orthotic is some cases.
We encourage our clients to ice regularly 3-4 times per day for 10 minutes each time, this will help with pain and also help settle any inflammation that might be contributing to your symptoms.
The above points are short term, pain relieving strategies that should really take the edge off your pain. However, taping and icing are not long term strategies and the long term answer to the problems is through specific strength exercises to improve the ability of the plantar fascia to absorb shock and load.
The strength exercises should begin as soon as pain permits. We start slowly and as the strength increases and the pain decreases we can ramp it up. Most people require 8 -12 weeks of really solid strength work to get back to where they need to be, i know a long road hey? It will be worth the effort though.
At Beachside we also occasionally use Extra Corporeal shockwave that can complement more traditional treatments, this can be extremely effective for treatment in plantar fasciitis. You can read more about shockwave therapy here- https://www.beachside-physio.com.au/services/shockwave-therapy
Should you have any questions please feel free to call us on 9544-0477 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply drop in to our Cronulla clinic in person, look forward to hearing from you.