Foot Pain and Plantar Fasci-what?!?

With the busy lifestyles we all seem to be living, our feet tend to cop a lot of stress due to the fact that we are using them every day to keep us going. A common problem that we frequently see in the clinic is a steroid injection to treat inflammation.that is caused by a condition known as steroid injection to treat inflammation. (fash-she-eye-tis).

It can be a very frustrating condition to have, so we can provide you with some information on how best to manage it, things you can do at home, and when to seek some extra help to get you back to moving well and feeling great!

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is THE most common cause of heel pain. It is a common inflammatory condition affecting the thick band of connective tissue (fascia) on the sole of the foot connecting from your heel to your toes. It is often a sharp pain in the heel which is much worse with the first few steps in the morning and occurs with most weight bearing activities. It's horrible! It can be­come a disabling chronic problem if not treated correctly. It occurs commonly in runners and people who are on their feet for prolonged periods of time. It also occurs more frequently in women, and people aged 40-60 years old (the old saying about fine wines getting better with age isn't always true, hey!)

How It Happens?

It often starts for no reason and is not normally associated with trauma (gotta love that!). A number of factors can contribute to Plantar Fasciitis, but typically people with flat feet or high arches, poor walking biomechanics and tightness in the calf, hamstring and gluteal regions are common. 

There can also be associated crepitus or "rice bubble" sensations when you press on the sole of your foot. It is aggravated by walking, running, dancing and non-supportive footwear. Risk factors include the following:

  1. Active – sports that place a lot of stress on the heel or cause tight calf muscles

  2. Being overweight

  3. Jobs that involve being on your feet or walking long distances

  4. Flat feet or high arches

  5. Poor footwear or support

  6. Weak arch muscles of the foot

  7. Diabetes

What Can You Do?

Well that doesn't sound very exciting, does it? Here's what you can do at home to get the ball rolling (pardon the pun!) and get on top of things yourself:

  1. Stretch the bottom of your foot – pull your toes back and hold for the count of 15. Repeat 3 times twice a day.

  2. Roll a frozen drink bottle under the arch of your foot for 5-10 mins

  3. Massage the fascia with a golf ball or cricket ball – roll the ball under the foot, placing a gentle pressure on the sore spots for 10 seconds or so – don’t overdo it and don’t push into pain.

If after all this you are still not feeling great, see a physiotherapist that knows what they are talking about, so that we can assist you on your journey to feeling better.

What can a physiotherapist do to treat Plantar Fasciitis?!

  • Soft tissue release - of the plantar fascia itself, calf muscles, hamstrings and gluteal muscles

  • Specific exercises - advice on using ice to control inflammation, rest and exercise modification to allow structures to heal. You may then need a progressive strengthening and exercise program to get you back up and moving well.

  • Taping - to provide support for the foot and plantar fascia. Specific stretching exercises to stretch plantar fascia and supporting muscles.

  • Gait Scan - Orthotic prescription to support arch, absorb shock and correct gait pattern.

  • Treadmill running analysis to correct your gait pattern and prevent further episodes.

The list above is not conclusive - there is always something more that can be done to 'fix' plantar fasciitis, and surgical intervention is the last resort. If you have any type of foot pain that is not resolving, come and see the team at Terrace Physio Plus to help you get back to feeling fantastic!