What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the painful condition caused by the overuse of the plantar fascia.  The plantar fascia is the thick broad band of connective tissue that joins the heel bone to the ball of the foot.

Heel spurs are also associated with plantar fasciitis.  A heel spur is a bony overgrowth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone (calcaneus).  A heel spur can come as a result of repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia on the calcaneum.  A heel spur can be asymptomatic and a painful heel can have no heel spur.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

·       Poor foot biomechanics, usually but not limited to overpronation

·       Tight calf muscles

·       Overuse, occupations that involve long periods of standing

·       Inappropriate footwear

·       Increase in activity level

·       Weight gain such as obesity or pregnancy

Signs & symptoms of plantar fasciitis

Pain under the heel that can sometimes be felt along the arch.  Pain is worse first thing in the morning and the first few steps taken are painful and the foot feels stiff.  Pain also tends to worsen after periods of rest.  Tenderness can be felt at the affected area.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis

Physiotherapy can help to relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.  Treatment will usually involve soft tissue massage and trigger point releasing through the plantar fascia and the calf muscles.  Stretching to the plantar fascia, calf and self massage techniques will be taught.  Strapping tape can be applied to support the plantar fascia.  Ice and rest may also be recommended.  Your footwear will be assessed to make sure it is appropriate for the activity it is being used for.  Referral to a podiatrist may be required for orthotic prescription.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call  the physio at Back2Balance Physiotherapy to make an appointment on 3352 5311 for an assessment and advice.