The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue, running along the sole from the heel to the ball of the foot. Overuse or overstretching of this fascia can cause very small tears in the tissue, and consequently, inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia. Due to this damage, the plantar fascia pulls on the bone where it attaches to the calcaneus (heel). This explains why most people with plantar fasciitis will describe pain primarily on the underside of the heel or arch of the foot.
Often the pain is worse in the first few steps each morning or after rest and is aggravated by continuous activity such as running, toe walking, standing or climbing stairs.
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Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation and degeneration due to excessive stress being placed on the plantar fascia. This can be due to a traumatic injury to the foot (acute) or biomechanical abnormalities (such as flat, pronated feet); however, sometimes the specific cause can be unknown.
Several factors could increase a person’s risk of developing plantar fasciitis. These include:
- Tightness in the calf muscles or ankle stiffness
- Abnormal lower limb biomechanics, such as over-pronation of the feet, flat feet, high arches or significant differences in leg length
- Poor footwear, providing inadequate arch support or having stiff soles
- Sports involving a lot of running, jumping, dancing or aerobics.
- Long periods of standing or walking regularly
- Middle-aged or older
- Sex (increased incidence in women)
Our Physiotherapists can perform a range of specialised orthopaedic tests to confirm the diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis. We will also take the time to identify all the underlying causes of your condition to ensure long term results. There are possibly several common contributing factors, such as:
- Poor footwear, particularly soft or unsupportive shoes
- Tight calf muscles
- Poor foot function, particularly flat feet
- A sudden increase in body weight
- A recent increase in a sporting activity or poor training methods/techniques
It is relatively simple for a Physiotherapist to diagnose Plantar fasciitis. It is more difficult to identify the underlying cause of the condition, and this is where 4 Life Physiotherapy can help greatly. After we provide the initial treatment, aimed at reducing pain and inflammation, we will move to address the underlying cause. This will likely involve a program of stretching, strengthening and icing, the use of extracorporeal shockwave therapy and addressing the underlying biomechanics of the foot and lower limb.
Being a multidisciplinary clinic, 4 Life Physio’s can liaise directly with our team of expert podiatrists should further biomechanical examination be required. We can also arrange for world-class custom made orthotics to comfortably correct any longstanding biomechanical concerns. Unsure whether you should see a Physio or a Podiatrist for Plantar Fasciitis, then make an appointment with us and we will jointly review your case.