Plantar Fascia pain

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the Plantar Fascia tendon located underneath your foot, close to your heel. It is made up of dense collagen which unlike other tendons in the body, is very rigid. It needs to be this rigid as it is supporting the body’s’ entire weight when walking and is subjected to even higher loads when running.

Let’s say you go walking on a beach for 40 mins while on holiday, our Irish legs are not used to walking on an unstable surface (sand) so your plantar fascia and all other muscles being used to walk are working a lot harder to keep you upright and moving, as they have to adjust to the moving sand below your feet.

Due to this, the Plantar Fascia develops microtears. These micro tears occur daily in our body but when a structure is subjected to repeat microtears over the course of a weeks holiday, then it becomes painful and needs time to rest. But unfortunately, this tendon does not get a good rest period as it is always been used for walking, and is not getting enough time to heal.

Here is a list of Intrinsic and Extrinsic factors that can lead to Plantar Fasciitis:

Extrinsic Factors

This refers to patterns of load that the tendon is subjected to:

  • Long walks
  • Spending all day on feet
  • Running on surfaces with little give (roads)
  • Running/walking on surfaces with too much give (sand)
  • Poor footwear (flat shoes, flip-flops)

Intrinsic Factors

These are factors which involve the current condition of your body and supporting structure:

  • High Body Mass Index
  • Tight calves
  • Fallen arches (flat feet)
  • Weak muscles in the foot
  • Poor big toe extension (causes more stress on Plantar Fascia)
  • Poor walking mechanics (walking different due to pain)

What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Here is a checklist for Plantar Fascia pain. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms then you more than likely have Plantar Fascia related pain.

  1. Stiffness/pain when you first put a foot on the floor, which gradually reduces as you walk
  2. Tenderness on the underside of the foot close to the heel bone
  3. Pain when rising from a chair after a long period of inactivity
  4. Pain worse when wearing flat shoes or when barefoot
  5. Pain gets progressively worse as you walk
  6. Pain has gradually got worse over time

What is the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis?

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis focuses on:

  1. Reducing pain
  2. Correcting the extrinsic factors
  3. Finally correcting the intrinsic factors

We can first reduce the pain by a number of means including:

  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Icing
  • Anti Inflammatories

We can change Extrinsic Factors by:

  • Educating you on painful triggers of Plantar Fascia pain
  • Managing activity levels so you don’t continuously irritate the Plantar Fascia
  • Provide Orthotics to support the arch of the foot
  • Taping foot to provide support of arch of the foot
  • Acupuncture

We can treat the Intrinsic Factors by:

  • Stretching
  • Myofascial release
  • Joint Manipulations
  • Strengthening the Plantar Fascia and intrinsic muscles in the foot
  • Provide a progressive tailored return to activity program

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