The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that provide foot arch support. It is at its maximum stretch when your foot is on the ground and bearing your full weight while walking. Plantar fasciitis is a condition stemming from collagen degeneration of the plantar fascia. It occurs when the plantar fascia is overburdened or repetitively strained, causing micro-tears that lead to a sharp-shooting or dull heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis treatment is available and can be effectively treated using Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, plantar fasciitis exercises, and stretches, therapeutic taping, footwear modification, and more. Physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis is highly effective in developing a treatment plan after determining the cause of your condition.
The Basics about Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain in the sole of the foot
- Tenderness on the anterior medial heel, often misnamed as ‘inflammation’
- Limping or preference for walking on toes
- Barefoot walking pain when on hard surfaces or when climbing stairs
Typically the first few steps are the most painful in the morning, but the pain will slowly subside as one walks more throughout the day.
Plantar fasciitis causes may include
- High arches
- Tight calf muscles
- Weak ankles or weak foot-stabilizing muscles
- Extensive weight-bearing on hard surfaces
- High impact and extensive sports on hard surfaces
- High body mass index
The list above is not exhaustive. The condition can be present in individuals who are sedentary, overweight, or even very active athletes like runners. The general cause is understood to be from an increased load on the plantar fascia by certain activities, such as running, an individual’s biomechanics, or a combination of both.
Related to the body’s biomechanics, plantar fasciitis has occurred in patients with both a high or low arch. A body’s motion can attribute to excessive misalignments like overpronation or, simply, one leg being longer than the other.
Plantar fasciitis can also come from tight calf muscles. The relationship between tight Achilles tendons that attach the calf to the heels can also produce heel pain. Additionally, plantar fasciitis can be caused by weak calf and intrinsic foot muscles as this can place a higher level of stress on the plantar fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis and Running
Plantar fasciitis and running are commonly found together, with the condition being the third most frequent injury in runners. Yet, despite its high prevalence in runners, the pathogenesis remains inconclusive.
While in the early stages of the condition, a runner may be able to continue running with minimal pain. But with time, the heel pain may worsen and the condition will likely become more prevalent. By overcompensating, the adjustments in running gait may attribute to pain elsewhere in the foot, ankle, or lower extremities.
Generally, plantar fasciitis responds better to early intervention by treating the injury before the heel pain becomes a chronic condition. Additionally, if plantar fasciitis treatment begins early enough, runners may not need to stop their training to recuperate.
How to Address Plantar Fasciitis
If you are diagnosed by a physiotherapist with plantar fasciitis, there are a variety of things you can do to address and treat the root cause of the problem:
- Stretches and exercises that focus on stretching the toe and arch
- Limit the amount of barefoot walking on hard surfaces. Keep your shoes on as much as possible
- Use low-dye taping to off-load the stress on the plantar fascia tissue as a short-term treatment option
- Moulded individual orthotics
- Shockwave therapy to stimulate collagen synthesis to accelerate the healing process
If you’re looking for treatment options to address your acute or chronic plantar fasciitis, it’s best to contact a trained healthcare provider before the condition worsens. HelloPhysio is a highly-recommended leading physiotherapy clinic in Singapore. With the latest state-of-the-art technologies combined with traditional hands-on manual techniques, the skilled team at HelloPhysio will assess your condition to develop a tailored physiotherapy plan. Each client’s treatment is individually customized to reduce the indication of pain, establish positive movement, and re-activate collagen so that the body starts to repair itself. HelloPhysio accepts insurance and claims may be eligible through your health insurer. Find out more at www.hellophysio.sg.
- Ribeiro, A., Trombini-Souza, F., Tessutti, V., Lima, F., João, S., & Sacco, I. (2011). The effects of plantar fasciitis and pain on plantar pressure distribution of recreational runners. Clinical Biomechanics, 26(2), 194-199. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2010.08.004
- Lynch DM, Goforth WP, Martin JE, et al. Conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis: a prospective study. JAPMA 1998; 88(8):375-80.
- Yin, M., Ye, J., Yao, M., Cui, X., Xia, Y., & Shen, Q. et al. (2014). Is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Clinical Efficacy for Relief of Chronic, Recalcitrant Plantar Fasciitis? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Placebo or Active-Treatment Controlled Trials. Archives Of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(8), 1585-1593. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.033
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