A painful condition relating to foot pain around the heel or sole of your foot. In this article we look at symptoms, causes and treatment options.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain. Pain is generally experienced on the underside of the foot around the heel. The pain in the foot comes from inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a band of tissue that runs under the foot. The Plantar fascia runs from the heel and then fans out to attach to the underside of the toes. The band of tissue is there to support the arch of the foot and absorb stress when walking.
What are Plantar Fasciitis symptoms?
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include:
- Sharp or stabbing pain in the foot
- Pain first thing in the morning when getting out of bed
- Pain gets better after the first few steps in the morning
- The pain can return after running or walking for long periods of time
- The pain can also be made worse by standing for a long time
- Getting up after sitting for a long time can also bring about the pain
- Sometimes the pain is aggravated by different types of footwear
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
When on your feet and you are actively working the plantar fascia, you can cause small tears to occur in the tissue. Repeated stress through the plantar fascia can lead to irritation or inflammation in the tissues. Despite this, there are many other factors that can be adding to the problem.
Some additional factors for causing plantar fasciitis:
- The surface(s) that you stand, walk or run on
- The type or style of shoes you wear
- Exercise levels
- Carrying extra weight
- In some cases inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
Diagnosing plantar fasciitis
There are many ways to diagnose plantar fasciitis, the main important part of diagnosing the problem is identifying the key areas of the problem that differentiate it from other foot pain conditions such:
- Arthritis of the foot
- Nerve compression around the foot
- Referral pain from other areas of the body such as the spine
- Stress fracture of the bones in the foot
- Loss of fatty tissue under the heel
- Bony growth at the base of the heel
Plantar fasciitis is mainly diagnosed from the history of your complaint as well as a physical examination by the chiropractor, physiotherapist or sports therapist.
At Skelian we also offer diagnostic ultrasounds to confirm the diagnosis by scanning the foot. These scans are performed by our experienced specialist physiotherapist. These scans will be able to show you a live image of your foot and where the problem is coming from or not.
Once you have been given a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis we have a variety of treatment options available at Skelian.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis
In most cases the longer a condition has been around the harder it is to treat. If you have been struggling with foot pain for longer than 2 weeks it is probably worth seeking help from one of our experienced chiropractors, physio or sports therapist. Alongside the length of time you have been suffering from foot pain, your work, life or exercise demands might also be contributing to the problem. The length of time you have had the foot pain and your lifestyle will determine the length of time you will need to be treated. Typically the longer you’ve had the pain the longer the course of treatment may last.
Types of treatment for plantar fasciitis
Soft tissue release and stretching
Generally speaking, stretching is one of the “go to” forms of treatment or home exercise for plantar fasciitis. The stretching exercises should be focused on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Your chiropractor,physio or sports therapist will talk you through the home exercises needed to help progress your case. Alongside the stretching exercises, you will also be assessed for foot strength. If needed, you will be prescribed foot and ankle exercises to practice at home to help improve the function of the foot.
Shockwave therapy is a fantastic and effective treatment for many cases of plantar fasciitis. The aim of shockwave therapy is to create micro trauma to the plantar fascia, which then stimulates a healing response by the body. Helping promote the healing of the plantar fascia tissues. At Skelian most of our practitioners are experienced at using the shockwave machine when treating plantar fasciitis.
Steroid injections are in most cases a last resort when it comes to treating plantar fasciitis. If your symptoms are stubborn after trying several forms of treatment, then a steroid injection might be considered for your case. The aim of a steroid injection is to significantly reduce the inflammation in the problem area of the plantar fascia. These injections can only be performed a limited amount of times before the plantar fascia starts to experience a negative effect from the steroid injection.
Our steroid injections at Skelian are performed under ultrasound for ultimate accuracy by our specialist physiotherapist.
Modification of activities or lifestyle
When trying to recover from plantar fasciitis, you may need to change what you are doing on a regular basis, especially if it is contributing to your problem.
These changes include:
- Use a padded or well cushioned shoe or footwear
- Reduce the distance you are running or walking
- Change to exercises that do not put pressure on the foot or heel such as swimming or cycling
- Using tape to support the foot, ankle and surrounding muscles
- Wearing a medical boot at night to continue stretching the plantar fascia at night
- Reduce time spent on hard surfaces
Orthotics or supportive insoles put into your shoes or footwear might also help support the foot or help take pressure off of sensitive areas.
Some patients find putting ice around the area of pain helpful for reducing symptoms or speeding up the recovery of plantar fasciitis. If the ice treatment is too cold, patients have tried putting their feet in a container of cold water. The aim of this is to encourage the reduction of inflammation in the foot/feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
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