What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a debilitating condition that effects the heel. This type of heel pain can cause you to limp out of bed in the morning or after a period of rest. It can make walking very difficult and painful.
The prevalence in the general population is estimated to be approximately 10%.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia runs under the soles of the feet. It connects the heel bones to the front of the feet and supports the arch.
The fascia normally acts as a shock absorber, but repeated street to the heel can lead to small tears in the tissue.
There are a number of different causes for plantar fasciitis. The soft tissue can become inflamed due to repeated force from high impact activities and sports that involve jumping, wearing high heels, excessive standing/walking, increase weight, hard flooring and flatfeet.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis treatment involves a combination of various different treatment measures. No single treatment appears to be consistently successful in eliminating plantar fasciitis on its own.
It is important you see your Podiatrist as soon as you start to develop pain in your heel. Early intervention is critical and has favoring treatment outcomes.
Plantar fasciitis can be treated with a number of different treatment options depending on the individual pathophysiology. It is important your biomechanics is thoroughly assessed e.g. joints, muscles, stance, gait, footwear etc.
- Stretch and strengthening
- Dry needling
- Foot mobilization
Customised foot orthotics at Move Podiatry are produced with laser accuracy and are often required to unload the plantar fascia and plantar heel structures.
What about exercise?
Plantar fasciitis can disrupt workout routines and continuing to do certain activities can make heel pain worse. However, sitting idle and not exercising is unhealthy.
It is possible to still work out when dealing with plantar fasciitis. The key is to avoid activities that place a lot of force on the heel.
I recommend activities that don’t involve impact to the heel, such as rowing, swimming, and lifting weights.
Stretches can greatly benefit individuals with plantar fasciitis. It is important to stretch out the calf muscles and plantar fascia. These exercises can be performed daily as instructed below. People who have plantar fasciitis pain in the morning may want to do the stretches as soon as they wake up.
- Sit in a cross-legged position at the end of the bed or a chair. Place the affected foot over the knee of the other leg. Grab the heel of the painful foot with one hand and the toes with the other hand. Gently pull up on the toes while at the same time pulling up on the heel. Bending the toes up stretches the fascia. Bending the ankle up stretches the Achilles tendon, which may help decrease pain. Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds. Relax the foot and repeat 10 to 20 times. If both feet are affected, repeat on the other foot.
- Sitting in a chair, hold the leg out straight and flex and extend at the ankle joint. This exercise stretches both the fascia and the calf muscle. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
- Place the hands on a wall, keep the back leg straight and the heel down. Pull the hips forward towards the wall until the stretch is felt in the back of the lower leg. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times. If the heel on the opposite leg hurts, repeat the stretch
Strengthening exercises can be performed. Please see your experienced Podiatrist at Move Podiatry about how to do these.