What is Plantar Fasciitis?
This is an extremely common injury involving the Plantar Fascia which is a Collagen based structure on the underside of your foot. Due to its prevalence there are a number of other foot injuries which are often misdiagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis. The assessment process is extremely important in differentiating these different conditions. True Plantar Fasciitis will almost always present as a stiff and sore heel when first getting out of bed in the morning or when first standing up after prolonged sitting.
The term “Fasciitis” has been used for many years due to the fact that they previously believed it was an inflammatory condition. As more information has been gathered about this injury it has been discovered that there is actually little to no inflammation present in the Plantar Fascia (but the name Fasciitis has stuck). The reason this lack of inflammation is important is that it changes the way we manage the injury.
When managing Plantar Fasciitis or Plantar Heel Pain it is key to keep things moving. The Plantar Fascia loves load, it just likes to be given the right amount of load at the right time. We never want to stop your activities like walking and running, we may just need to modify them slightly whilst working on building the capacity of the Plantar Fascia and the supporting structures. As we increase the capacity / tolerance of the Plantar Fascia over time we can also increase your activity levels and intensity at the same time.
So, what are some of the things we do to manage Plantar Fasciitis?
Strength & Mobility
After completing a holistic assessment of how your body is moving, we will be able to target key areas which are contributing to the overload of your Plantar Fascia. For some people this will be better activation of the muscles in your feet, for others it may be working on the muscles around your hip and knee to make your running/walking gait more efficient. The purpose is to increase your efficiency, your overall ability to tolerate load and make your body more resilient.
As Podiatrists + Running Coaches we have a really clear idea of how your load should be managed to reduce injury risk and rehab your injury as quickly as possible. Depending on your tissue capacity and load tolerance we may need to modify one or more variables within your current weekly activity. Some common things we might need to modify; training intensity (how fast you are walking or running), Duration (how much time you are spending running/walking/in the gym), terrain (are you running hills/trails/road).
Short Term Strategies
If you’re currently in pain that is impacting you daily and getting in the way of your recovery we often use short term strategies to break this pain cycle. Things like taping/strapping, padding and support in the shoes can all be used as a circuit breaker for the pain. Another short term strategy is utilising massage, dry needling and cupping to modify the pain response being created by the body which allows us to get you back moving faster. We make a clear point of keeping these as short term strategies, removing them as soon as possible to prevent our body becoming reliant on them.
Technique and Movement Pathways
Sometimes no you can have all the strength in the world and all the necessary mobility, but still have issues with injuries. One of the reasons this can occur is due to the way your body has learned to complete an activity. The movements your body uses to complete a task can be described as a movement pathway or technique. Different movement pathways in running for example can have a significant contribution towards acute or chronic injuries. As with any sport, we can train correct technique and teach the body to move in a more efficient way to improve how you move and reduce your future injury risk.
If you would like to download an information e-book about Plantar Heel pain, we have attached a downloadable link below for the PDF file. Although this is some information which may be helpful in the early stages of the injury, it’s important to properly assess what is contributing to the injury in your individual situation.
To book an assessment of your Plantar Heel pain click the ONLINE BOOKING button and select a suitable time and date at either our Geelong podiatry or Torquay podiatry clinics.
Written and edited by our Sports based Podiatrist, Patrick O'Connell.
If you have any questions regarding your Plantar Heel Pain or you would like to organise a time to chat with one of your Podiatrists at the Geelong or Torquay Podiatry clinic then please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org