At some point, we’ve all experienced some kind of pain in the foot, or know of someone who is currently experiencing/complaining about persistent foot pain. Perhaps it was around the time we decided to get back to the gym for six weeks. Perhaps it was after a major hike up in the Lake District. Perhaps it is just the nature of our job has a bartender. Quite often, we then get told – or even self diagnose – that it’s something called Plantar fasciitis. But what exactly is Plantar fasciitis?
The Plantar Fascia is a thick, strong band of connective tissue in the base of the foot, roughly spanning from the heel to just before our toes. Because of its structure, it acts as a shock absorber, provides structural supports for our arches; and mechanically acts as a spring when we walk and run. Plantar Fasci-itis is the name of the condition when this structure is irritated and inflammed, thus causing the persistent, and often flagrant pain.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis often occurs with a combination of physical, environmental, and social/work factors all impacting on the structure of the foot. Some of these are listed below:
- Altered/poor gait (walking) biomechanics
- Weakness in hip, knee, and/or foot muscles
- Repetitive strain on the soft tissue
- Recent change in physical workload (Predominantly overloading)
- Poor/uncomfortable footwear
Treatment and Management
The initial goal in managing plantar fasciitis is to reduce pain and inflammation. Your physiotherapist would be able to provide some manual treatment to help begin the recovery process. But it is also important to then assess and examine all these factors mentioned above in order to get to the root of the issue, and being able to prescribe the most appropriate management plan. This may include some stretching/strengthening exercises, modifications to your activities/daily schedule, and in some cases recommending extra assistance, such as an orthotic.
If this is something that you needed help with to get back to your work, your training, or even just to be pain-free, come and see our team of experts at Emma James Physio and we would love to help you!
Kelvin Leung, Sports Physiotherapist
Emma James Physio