Image depicting the Plantar Fascia attachments and the location of pain in Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot complaint treated by Osteopaths

Spring time is great for getting more active, but increasing your activity quickly can result in overuse injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis. Read this blog to find out more!

What is the Plantar Fascia?

The plantar Fascia is a thick connective band of tissue found on the sole of the foot that connects the plantar muscles from the toes into the heel. One of its main roles is to keep the bones and joints in position, supporting the arch of the foot, enabling us to push off from the ground.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, usually caused by repetitive over-stretching or overuse of this connective band causing micro trauma and inflammation resulting in heel pain.

Sign and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, however most people tend of describe experiencing some or all of the following:

  • Sharp pain in the inside part of the bottom of the heel which can often be described as a knife like pain.
  • Heel pain that tends to be worse with the first few steps after waking up.
  • Heel pain after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
  • Heel pain during and also after exercise.
  • Mild swelling in the heel.

Risk factors and causes of plantar fasciitis:

  • Flat-footed or high arches. People with flat feet may have reduced shock absorption, increasing strain on the plantar fascia. High arched feet have tighter plantar tissue, leading to similar effects.
  • Middle-aged or older. Heel pain tends to be more common with ageing as muscles supporting the arch of the foot become weaker, putting stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Overweight. Weight places a greater mechanical load on the plantar fascia. There is evidence that overweight and inactivity lead to chemical damage to the plantar fascia, with a worsening of pain.
  • Pregnancy. Weight gain, swelling and hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy may lead to mechanical overload of the plantar fascia.
  • Heel spurs
  • Tightness of the calf and feet muscles
  • Being on your feet for long periods of time due to work etc.
  • Wearing shoes with poor arch support or stiff soles.

How your osteopath can help?

During your initial consultation a history will be taken asking you numerous questions about your complaint in order to determine the causative factor of your pain.

A physical examination will then take place assessing the pelvis and the lower limb. This can include the low back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. This will demonstrate whether there is something further up the chain in the lower limb that could be causing the plantar fasciitis.

Initially your osteopath may discuss some management strategies to help relieve your pain.

Management:

  • Resting
  • Icing
  • Anti-inflammatories – prescribed by your GP and/or consultation with your pharmacist
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Wearing supportive footwear

Your osteopath will then perform a hands on treatment to the lower limb and may use some soft tissue techniques to the affected area.

Treatment:

  • Soft tissue to the tightened muscles
  • Articulation to mobilise any joints in the lower extremity that may be stiff
  • Dry needling
  • Myofascial release work
  • Taping of the feet for support

Other forms of treatment may also be suggested by your osteopath.

Other treatment options:

  • Podiatry assessment for orthotics or shoe inserts
  • Night splints
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Shockwave therapy

It is important to remember that your osteopath prides themselves on looking at each patient’s case individually. Therefore, they will aim to find the causative factor of your plantar fasciitis and prevent it from reoccurring.

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms book a consultation with one of our experienced practitioners for your assessment today.
Call (03) 9570 3388