Plantar Fascitis is a painful overuse condition originating in the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a strong ligamentous structure on the sole of your foot, it originates from your heel bone(calcaneus) and spans across the bottom of your foot (the plantar surface) inserting into the bones of your forefoot (metatarsal heads). Its role is to help give structure and support to the foot.
Signs and symptoms
Typically activities that involve putting force on this structure can prove to be painful, such as running, walking or dancing. Usually pain is reported beneath the heel and is particularly worse when first waking in the morning. Initially putting the foot down after getting out of bed is often reported as very painful, or descending the stairs first thing.
Pain is usually focussed to one point on the heel bone but there is usually tenderness along the inside border (medial) of the plantar fascia, due to tightening of the ligamentous structure. If the big toe is pulled back stretching the fascia, it is usually painful.
How physiotherapy can help
Often there is a biomechanical cause behind this problem, such as excessive pronation (flat foot) or tightness of the calf. A Physiotherapist will be able to assess your gait (walking) pattern and foot posture. If they feel Orthotics may help improve this problem, they will be able to arrange for an Orthotic assessment, if required they will provide orthotics (insoles) to correct your foot posture and foot biomechanics.
Physiotherapists are able to provide treatments which will help with pain relief. These include interventions such as soft tissue massage, stretching of the fascia, acupuncture, ultrasound, taping, or a heel cup. Plantar fasciitis can often be associated with weight gain and obesity; if you think this may be contributing to your problem seek appropriate medical advice on starting a weight loss programme as part of your treatment regime.
Applying an ice pack to the sole of the foot can prove to be helpful after activity, and can help reduce the symptoms of the condition. It is important to wrap an ice pack in a damp cloth and apply for 20 minutes checking the foot regularly. Speak to your Physiotherapist about using ice to help with your condition.
It is important to treat this condition early on, the longer it is left the more difficult it becomes to treat and resolve, so please don’t ignore it.
If you think you are struggling with Plantar Fasciitis please contact Spire Dunedin Physiotherapy to see if we can help you on 0118 955 3413 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.