All You Need to Know About Plantar Fasciitis Treatment.
So you’ve woken up and it feels like someone has driven a nail into the bottom of your foot with that first step. Heel pain or Plantar Fasciitis is an extremely painful condition, left untreated can linger for long periods of time. rest assured there it’s an extremely common condition that we see day in and day out in our Glen Iris Clinic. It is one of the most common sources of heel pain. If you’re looking to get onto of your Plantar Fasciitis and are seeking treatment, it is essential you read on.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a strong, thick piece of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes, creating the foot’s inner arch. It functions like a shock absorber. And just like all our other tendons and ligaments in our body can break down. When the Plants Fascia becomes irritated, it causes pain and inflammation. And can be exquisitely tender to walk or run on. People seeking treatment will often describe pain with the first few steps in the morning, after prolonged periods of activity or after prolonged periods of standing or sitting. Most will generally feel pain at the heel or the inner foot arch.
Comment: My Plantar Fasciitis pain is caused by my heel spur.
MYTH – A heel spur is a calcium deposit that forms as a bony protrusion from the undersurface of your heel bone. Often these are painless and are often caused by repetitive trauma or stretching of the plantar fascia as well as the membrane that covers the heel bone. This process usually occurs over many months. Repetitive trauma is the excessive load the foot is placed under. Here we see the irritation to the plantar fascia coming 1st, and the subsequent development of the heel spur 2nd.
Fun Fact: It is of interest that only about 5% of the population that has a heel spur experience pain!*
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
It may seem that your plantar Fasciitis pain has come out of no-where. But somewhere along the line your foot and the plantar fascia have been unable to tolerate the force you are putting through it. Simply put, it has not tolerated the increase in load applied to it. Things like:
- Changes in footwear.
- Increase in the intensity of your exercise.
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle Tightness
- a change of environment ( ie treadmill to outdoors)
are all factors which may contribute to plantar fasciitis. It is hard to pinpoint an exact cause, as the process can happen slowly over weeks to months. Occasionally we do experience severe sharp pain, which can be an acute tear occurring.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:
If you’re looking for a quick fix, I’m sorry to say there is none. There is no silver bullet.
Cortisone Injections: These are extremely painful and may provide only short-term pain relief. With our increased knowledge about the harmful effects of steroid use and tendons, this treatment option is very rarely used.
The Equilibrium Approach to Plantar Fasciitis treatment.
1: Correct Diagnosis.
All great treatments have 1 thing in common, a correct diagnosis. An inflamed fat pad, a stress fracture, Sub Talar joint irritation are some of the conditions which can present at the same site of Plantar Fasciitis. Ensuring you are being treated for the correct injury is key in achieving long last pain relief.
2: Short-Term Pain Relief.
- Load management. Too much load/stress will aggravate your Plantar Fascia. Managing this is critical in the early stages. By no means does this mean you stop ALL activity. We work to manage and alter your load to find a happy balance.
- Biomechanics – Ensuring you have good mobility in your foot and ankle complex ensures correct movement of the foot and adequate force distribution whilst walking or running.
- Muscular Assessment – Here we assess which muscles need work ( generally the overactive, tight and spasmodic ones. And which are weak and hence need strengthening.
- Loading Program. Vast numbers of research papers suggest the best way to improve Plantar Fasciitis is to “load the tendon”. We do this in a graded fashion following research guidelines and protocols. The Fasciitis Fighter is a simple tool to use to help load our fascia.
- Shockwave Therapy. Supported by various clinical trials, Shockwave Therapy has been proved to improve the healing time of Plantar Fasciitis. This non-invasive, treatment protocol is a game changer for those suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Comment: Daily stretching will help fix my Planta Fasciitis?
Your Plantar Fascia is a thick broad fascial sheath that sits under our foot. Its role it to provide tension and support through the arch. It functions as a tension bridge in the foot, providing both static support and dynamic shock absorption. It DOES NOT have a contractile component, which means it cant be stretched! In fact, stretching may further aggravate your condition.
An Osteopathic Approach to Plantar Fasciitis.
As Osteopaths we address the body as a complete unit. We focus on your entire lower limb. Our hands-on approach ensures we address the muscles of your hip, just as important as the muscles of your foot and ankle. Ensuring all your joints are moving well and your muscles are best placed to cope with the load required.
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Joint Articulation and Manipulation
- Shockwave Therapy
- Dry Needling
- Exercise prescription
are all used to combat the pain associated with plantar Fasciitis.
Comment: I can push/run through the pain of Plantar Fasciitis
Unfortunately, this will only serve to prolong your pain and irritation. Initially, we need to look at your load – or simply how much you are doing on your feet. In the initial phases, it will certainly be necessary to alter your program or reduce your load where possible. We need to give the foot a chance to rest and recover. Sure, no one likes taking time off, but some short-term suffering is far better than long-term pain. It’s a really tricky area to treat, and some people are still suffering 12-18 months after the initial injury. So seek help early.
Take home Points:
You don’t need to suffer in silence with your Plantar Fasciitis. Let the qualified staff at Equilibrium help you get back to doing the things you love to do. The first step starts with booking an appointment. You won’t look back