By Aaron Woolley, Physiotherapist.
Plantar fasciitis is a very common condition that affects millions of people each year. In fact, it is the leading cause of heel pain around the world. Despite this condition being so common few people understand what it actually is. At Robina Physio on the Gold Coast we excel at treating this condition and we hope this information helps empower your recovery.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a dense and fibrous band of connection tissue much like a tendon. This structure spans the bottom of the foot, originating from the heel, attaching to the ball of the foot and functions to support the arch.
The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages these tissues. As a result, inflammation is produced by the body which then results in the pain and stiffness associated with plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs can arise when the plantar fascia pulls hard on the heel for a long period of time. Although the spur itself is not the problem but rather a consequence of the overload on the fascia and its attachment site. 1/10 people has heel spurs, but only 1/20 people (5%) with heel spurs has foot pain. Therefore, the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur.
How Does Plantar Fasciitis Present?
The most common symptoms include:
- Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel
- Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning
- Pain after prolonged sitting and/or standing
- Pain that is aggravated by exercise or activity e.g. walking, running, jumping
Risk factors for developing Plantar Fasciitis include:
- Tight calf muscles
- Poor arch control e.g. flat feet or very high arches
- Repetitive impact activity e.g. running, jumping
- New or increased exercise or activity levels
How is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
Plantar fasciitis can be diagnosed very effectively with a thorough examination from your physiotherapist at Robina Physio. This would include discussing your presenting symptoms, completing a physical examination of your foot structures and lower limb biomechanics. In some cases you will also be referred for a scan such as an X-ray, Ultrasound or MRI.
How Do We Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
At Robina Physio on the Gold Coast, we use a variety of treatment modalities to manage your heel pain.
Treatment options we commonly use include:
- Soft tissue massage and trigger point therapy of the calf and foot
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Supportive taping
- Footwear and orthotic advice
- Exercise and activity load management
- A lower limb stretching and strengthening program
- Technique correction and return to running advice
- Use of pain-relieving devices e.g. Strassburg sock and my favourite rolling your foot on a frozen bottle.
Unfortunately for some people conservative management does not fully resolve their pain. For these people combining physiotherapy with injection therapy can be very effective. The next tier of treatment available would include:
- Steroid Injections
- PRP Injections
If your suffering with Plantar Fasciitis or foot pain the Robina Physio on the Gold Coast is has to expert care available to help get you pain free and moving again. Call us on (07) 55787233 or BOOK ONLINE.