Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of rear foot / heel pain seen in physiotherapy clinics. This condition is commonly seen in runners and patients who stand for long periods of the day and is associated with poor foot biomechanics, in particular excessive supination (causing high arches) and pronation (causing flat feet).
The plantar fascia is a thick layer of connective tissue that sits under your foot. It connects from the heel bone to the toes. It consists of 3 segments, the central component being the largest and most prominent. The plantar fascia forms the longitudinal arch of the foot and acts to maintain this arch in weight bearing, whilst also providing dynamic support for absorption during walking and running activities. When the plantar fascia becomes irritated or inflamed, the condition is called plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis:
- Insidious onset of pain
- Pain worse in the morning, but improves with exercise
- As condition worsens pain will get worse with activity and weight bearing
- Pain at the bottom of the heel bone
- Heel spurs – a small bony calcification coming off the heel bone. It is a common side effect of plantar fasciitis
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis:
- Pes planus (flat feet) or pes cavus (high arches)
- Excessive walking in inappropriate footwear
- Work related factors, ie. prolonged standing
Accurate diagnosis is important to ensure the correct treatment is applied for this potential chronic and debilitating condition. Physiotherapy is a key element in managing the injury and helping with rehabilitation.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis:
- Strengthening exercises
- Taping techniques
- Stretches of the calf and plantar fascia
- Avoiding the aggravating factor
- Icing the foot post activity
- Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Surgery and injections may be an option
Call us today to see one of our physiotherapists to treat your heel pain.