Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

So, you have noticed your foot is getting sore. Let’s do a quick assessment

  • Do you wake up and dread your first step in the morning because its going to hurt?
  • Does it hurt when walking on hard surfaces bare foot?
  • Do you get tenderness in the heel area?

If you answered YES to the above questions, it is likely that you have plantar fasciitis.
DON’T WORRY, this blog will help you to understand your pain and how your physiotherapists can help you manage it.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis or plantar fasciopathy is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders of the foot. It is a results of overuse injury from either lifestyle (e.g., long periods on feet at work) or active lifestyle (e.g. runners). The plantar fascia is structure of dense connective tissue running from the heel (calcaneus) to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia tightens when you push off while walking to increase your arch height and propel you forward.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The primary cause of plantar fasciitis is repetitive strain on the fascia. This can occur through an increase in training load, inappropriate footwear, impact/weight-bearing activities such as prolonged standing.

What are the signs and symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Gradual onset of pain.
  • Heel pain, particularly when walking after a long period of inactivity such as first thing in the morning or sitting down for a couple of hours. Settles
  • Tenderness in the heel area
  • Difficulty bringing your toes towards your shin
  • Pain when climbing stairs or walking on hard surfaces
  • Long hours of standing particularly on hard flooring.

How do we Treat it?
Seeing your physiotherapist for a comprehensive assessment and rehabilitation program designed specifically for you and your goals. For most people, plantar fasciitis will resolve over a several weeks to a few months depending on the extent of the injury.

In the early stages, your physiotherapist will work with you to minimise your exposure to pain causing activities while still trying to maintain your daily function.

This may include

  • changing the shoes you wear on a daily basis to support your feet
  • Applying tape to your foot (provided you don’t have any allergies)
  • Encouraging you to wear orthotics in your shoes.
  • Modifying your training programs.

There is significant evidence to support these interventions as well as some hands on physiotherapy. To ensure the most effective management, your physiotherapist will send you home with an exercise program which may include

  • Stretching of the foot and calf
  • Some gentle strengthening of the foot and lower limb
  • Retraining programs for your walking and running patterns to maximise your biomechanics.

Take Home Message.

The pain you experience with plantar fasciitis is of gradual onset and classically felt on the heel. It is generally worse first thing in the morning when you get out of bed but steadily improves as you move. Periods of inactivity throughout the day can flare your pain on the initial movement.
If this sounds like you, reach out to the North Lakes Health Hub team to help you get back on track and onto recovery.

Want to know More?
We suggest contacting our team at the North Lakes Health Hub, so that we can help you with your individual case.