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Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is one of the most common foot conditions. It involves increased load and stress in the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes, with the thickest band going to the base of the big toes 

Plantar fasciitis commonly presents with stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel that is often worse with your first steps in the morning. As you start moving, the pain usually decreases, but worsens after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting. 

Plantar fasciitis is often treated with rest, proper footwear, foot orthotics, and stretching and strengthening of the foot and ankle muscles. We can also help with progressive treatment such as shockwave therapy. 

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About Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis typically presents with stabbing on the bottom of the heel while standing and walking. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps in the morning out of bed. It can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you stand up from sitting.

What causes it?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue (called fascia) that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes, with the thickest band going into the base of your big toe. It supports the arch of the foot and absorbs shock when walking.

As we stand, walk and run, there is tension, pressure, and stress on the fascia. When the tension and stress is too high over a period of time, there is repeated stretching and pressure on the band which causes it to be irritated and injured.

Risk factors:

  • Activity. Activities that place high stress and load on your heel and the plantar fascia – such as running, hiking, dancing – can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis. This is especially so if there is a sudden increase in your activity level.
  • Foot mechanics. Flat feet, high arch feet, atypical walking gait can affect the way load is distributed when you’re standing and walking and can put increased stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Weight gain. Increased weight places extra stress on your plantar fascia when you stand, walk and run.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Sales persons, teachers, factory workers and others who spend long working hours standing and walking on hard surfaces can be at increased risk of plantar fasciitis.

How We Help

To prevent and manage plantar fasciitis, we can help with the following:

  • Analyse your walking and running movement. A formal video analysis of your walking and running gait can help identify movement patterns that contribute to plantar fasciitis. If you’re a runner, small alterations in your running technique can help alleviate pain and prevent recurrence.
  • Choosing the right shoes. Wearing cushioned and supportive footwear both in and outdoors helps reduce stress and load through heel and foot. We can advise you on suitable footwear to suit your individual biomechanics, lifestyle and activity needs.
  • Consider foot orthotics. By contouring the heel and arch of your feet, foot orthotics can alleviate pain in your heel by reducing the strain and pressure on the plantar fascia. We can prescribe general or precision-made customised foot orthotics, depending on your needs.
  • Strengthening and stretching of your plantar fascia and calf muscles. Stronger and more resilient plantar fascia and calf muscles enable your plantar fascia to better withstand the load and stress experienced with increased activity and exercise.
  • Shockwave therapy. Acoustic sound waves directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. In general, this is for chronic plantar fasciitis that has not responded to more conservative treatments.

In the rare cases that your symptoms do not respond to conservative care in the long term, further treatment with injections or surgery can help.

Let us help you with your plantar fasciitis!

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Podiatry Quest – Holland Grove

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