Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia and is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick and fibrous band of tissue on the sole of the foot connecting the heel to the toes. It provides shock absorption and stability to the foot to maintain normal motion when walking.

Typically, plantar fasciitis causes a stabbing or aching pain in the inner heel or sole of the foot and is worse when taking your first steps in the morning. It can ease with walking, but a lot of people experience worsening pain after a long day standing or walking, or when standing after sitting for a long period of time.

Causes:

Plantar fasciitis is considered an overuse injury. This means if the tissue is stressed and overstretched it can cause micro-tears. The body repairs these tears with scar tissue, which is less tensile than normal tissue and makes the plantar fascia more prone to repetitive tearing. This initiates a cycle of tearing, inflammation, scarring and thickening of the plantar fascia, which causes irritation and pain. If left untreated, this cycle causes the condition to worsen over time.

Risk factors:

  • Foot shapes – flat footed or high arched
  • Younger people – running and dancing
  • Older people – walking in poor footwear
  • Overweight
  • Long hours standing
  • Tightness in the calves and hamstrings

Treatment options:

A full biomechanical assessment should be performed to identify any of the above-mentioned risk factors. Initial management with ibuprofen can provide immediate relief. Plantar fasciitis is best managed with a combination of soft tissue therapy such as low-level laser therapy, shockwave therapy, myofascial release or dry needling, as well as exercise therapy, strapping and activity modification. Footwear assessment and modification as well as orthotics may be needed to correct contributing biomechanical issues. Your podiatrist can put together a comprehensive treatment plan suited to your needs to get you back on your feet pain-free!

In clinic results:

500+ cases of heel pain treated – source Cliniko (2014 – July 2021)

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We are committed to solving the problem rather than offering a quick fix. In addition to treatment we’ll provide advice on how you can make small adjustments to reduce your pain, minimise the risk of injury and improve your quality of life.