Heel pain? – Maybe you have Plantarfasciitis.

Plantarfasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that spreads from the calcaneus (heel) to the toes and acts to support the arch of your foot and help you push off the ground. Overloading, over-stretching or bruising this structure can lead to irritation and inflammation of the fascia and consequently a painful heel.

What does it feel like?

  • Gradual onset of your pain
  • Sharp pain on the inside bottom part of your heel
  • Pain that occurs after an activity but can feel okay during
  • Pain can occur with standing.
  • The first few steps in the morning can often feel the worst!

Potential Risk factors

  • People who stand on their feet all day on hard surfaces
  • Altered foot biomechanics such as through decreased flexibility in your ankle, tight hamstrings, calf and gluteal muscles
  • Athletic population
  • High training loads e.g. running
  • Higher BMI
  • Foot alignment – cavus foot posture or varus knee alignment
  • Use of spiked shoes
  • Age – middle aged or older
  • Pregnancy
  • Weak feet or arches
  • Suboptimal footwear

How does plantarfasciitis progress?

Left untreated, plantarfasciitis typically gets worse. As the plantarfasciitis issue worsens, the pain will be present more often. To have a rough idea of what stage you are at see below:

Stage 1: No Heel Pain – Normal 😊

Stage 2: Heel pain after exercise.

Stage 3: Heel pain before and after exercise.

Stage 4: Heel pain before, during and after exercise.

Stage 5: Heel pain all the time. Including at rest

Treatment

In most individuals, heel symptoms will self-resolve between 6-18 months without treatment. However, there are other steps you can take to facilitate your rehabilitation and make this time-frame much shorter (weeks to months). Consulting a physiotherapist who can help determine the cause of your heel pain and best direct your rehabilitation so that your recovery is optimised may be worth your while. Some general treatments that you may experience with your physiotherapist will be:

  • Education and structuring of appropriate activity and load modification
  • Biomechanical analysis
  • Taping
  • Foot orthosis
  • Stretching / strengthening / control-type exercises
  • Massage and soft tissue therapy of the fascia
  • NSAIDS – education and potential referral to pharmacist/GP

If you think you are experiencing plantarfasciitis – don’t wait – book in today with one of our Physiotherapists for a consultation

 

Erica Doenau
Physiotherapist
Ferry Rd Physio (our Southport clinic)