What is Plantar Fasciitis? 

 In Chris McCormick, Podiatry

The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that runs from the base of the heel to the tips of toes. One of its primary functions is to encourage effective movement and stability of foot through the ‘Windlass mechanism. Plantar fasciitis or fasciopathy is characterised by overuse of the plantar fascia with resultant irritation and damage to the tissue which contributes to pain. 

Signs & symptoms

People experiencing plantar fascia pain most commonly report the following:

  • Pain in the heel/arch of foot when standing after rest (sleep, desk work)
  • Aching sensation that can be sharp at times
  • Usually feels better with athletic footwear and worse barefoot

 

Who is at risk and affected? 

It most commonly affects women (sorry ladies!) but it does affect men also, and occurs equally in highly active and non-active populations. People who are overweight or pregnant are also at an elevated risk. Typically it occurs after long periods of reduced activity that are followed by burst (weeks/months) of increased activity (running, jumping, walking).

Our biomechanics (the way we move), exercise frequency, muscle tightness/stiffness, weight and age all play a part in why we get Plantar Fasciitis. 

Treatment

As we use our feet every day, early and active treatment is the best strategy to keep you on your feet. Treatment will include a combination of:

  • Load management or relative rest (yes, we want to keep you moving 🙂 )
  • Offloading
  • Stretching
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Targeted strengthening
  • Orthotics (not in every case)
  • Footwear changes
  • Soft tissue release
  • Return to exercise
  • Injection therapy (in some cases)

Summary

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in the heel that we see at Pinnacle Health Group. Although often quite painful and upsetting, it is a treatable condition with a variety of different treatment options available. As with all injuries and pain, if in doubt get it checked out. Our team of Podiatrists at Pinnacle Health Group are experts in the management of foot and ankle conditions and are here to keep you on your wellness journey.

 

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