Plantar Fasciitis (Plantar Heel Pain)

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain we see here at myPod Podiatry. It is seen across a wide selection of the population but commonly seen in runners, dancers, people with both flat feet or high arches, middle age individuals or those that work long hours on their feet. 

Plantar fasciitis primarily affects a structure called the plantar fascia, which is a spring-like band of tissue running between the heel and the toes. Plantar fasciitis occurs when we bruise, overstretch or overload this tissue, causing there to be pain along the distribution of the plantar fascia but generally localised to the heel.

Plantar fasciitis is often associated with heel spurs, however the overloaded tissue tends to be the thing that causes the pain. 

Vector medical illustration of symptoms of plantar fascitis

Typical Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis symptoms are typically felt directly underneath the heel. We commonly hear patients having pain with that first step in the morning or after long periods of sitting down but then settles as the individual gets moving. Other symptoms include pain after prolonged periods of standing and after strenuous exercise. 

PREVENTION AND EARLY TREATMENT OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS 

Tips for preventing plantar fasciitis include: 

  • Wearing the correct shoes for your chosen activity ensuring they support the arch of the foot and provide adequate cushioning 
  • Replacing worn out running shoes at regular intervals 
  • Keeping your weight at a healthy level to prevent excess load on the heel 
  • An appropriate training program for your chosen sport or activity  
  • Warming up and cooling down after your chosen activity 
black-under-amour-sneakers-163535

It is highly recommended you see your myPod podiatrist as soon as you feel discomfort in the heel as early detection goes a long way towards effectively treating the condition. Early treatment include temporarily removing load from the heel to reduce inflammation and gently stretching the plantar fascia and any associated tight tissues. If a mild stretching and strength building program doesn’t have the desired effect, there are many other treatment options available. 

How to treat Plantar Fasciitis?

If caught early, plantar fasciitis can be resolved quickly by combining basic therapies like:

  • Strength and stretching
  • Massage
  • Cold therapy
  • Supportive and well cushioned shoes

These are all simple ways the injury can be resolved at home. If this is not working, or the pain has been around longer than two weeks, we can provide more aggressive intervention including:

  • A full biomechanical assessment including gait assessment
  • Assistance in offloading the painful area
  • Custom orthoses
  • Foot wear recommendation and education
  • Load management discussion
  • Tailored strength and conditioning program
  • Alternative therapies including shockwave/dry needling
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