Plantar fasciitis explained

News posted by Nikki Harris

Plantarfasciitis

Do you hobble out of bed with heel pain first thing in the morning?

A few conditions can result in heel pain.  Plantar fasciitis is the most common example, affecting approximately 1 in 10 people.  Plantar fascia is a flat ligament running from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot, which helps to support the arch of the foot.

Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis is characterised by pain with a gradual onset under the heel, often radiating into the arch of the foot.  The sole of the foot and the inside of the heel may also be tender to touch.  The level of pain experienced ranges between a mild discomfort to an intense pain depending on the extent of local inflammation and damage.

Pain is typically worse first in the morning as the plantar fascia temporarily shortens overnight whilst the foot is off stretch.  A few steps can help to ease the pain as the local tissues warm up and gradually stretch out. By day, periods of moving around following inactivity (e.g. prolonged sitting at a desk and/or driving) can also trigger the pain.

Risk factors

Risk factors all place additional stress on the plantar heel, leading to pain.  Examples include:

  • Overweight people
  • Prolonged standing
  • Ankle joint restriction

Treatment

The debate between researchers is ongoing as to which method(s) of treatment are most effective in the long-term for plantar fasciitis.  Simple self-help ideas include:

  • Weight loss (ideally a Body Mass Index below 30)
  • Reducing activity levels (e.g. regular running)
  • Taking breaks from standing
  • Wearing supportive footwear with good arch support and shock absorption
  • Stretching the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) and plantar fascia after a period of rest

Osteopaths a wide range of manual therapy techniques to reduce soft tissue restrictions, improve joint limitations in the foot and ankle which affect during the gait cycle and improve the localised inflammation in and around the plantar fascia.

A variety of other more invasive and expensive treatment options exist, such as shoe orthotics and corticosteroid injections.

Contact us

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us today: www.woburnosteopaths.co.uk/contact/.

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