By Sydney CBD Osteopath Dr Abbey Davidson
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a strong band of connective tissue between the heel and the toes which acts as a shock-absorber when your feet strike the ground during walking and running. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this band and is commonly present with your first steps in the morning, during physical activity and when wearing unsupportive footwear. Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury that runners experience and is more common in middle-age to older adults, obese and pregnant people.
How do I know if I have Plantar Fasciitis?
The signs and symptoms of Planter Fasciitis may include:
- Strong stabbing arch or heel pain
- Pain worse with activity or extended periods of standing
- Overly high or low foot arches
- History of Running (especially long distances, on hard surfaces or in poor footwear)
What can I do to help myself with Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis, it is important to rest and allow time for your tissues to heal, as without rest you will continue to re-aggravate the plantar fascia and the area will remain inflamed.
You should try to apply ice as often as you can to the affected area to minimise swelling and inflammation. We recommend application every hour for 20 minutes, avoiding direct skin contact with the skin by placing a towel between.
It is also useful to have your footwear assessed, checking how old they are and whether they are specific for the surfaces you commonly exercise and work on. Your health professional will be able to give you advice on how often to rotate footwear and the most appropriate types for you.
Stretching of the region may also be useful. Rolling the arch of your foot with a full drink bottle is a common technique, but it is important to follow this with ice application (explained above) to reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia. Stretching of your glutes, hamstrings and calves can also reduce the pressure on the soft tissues in the foot arch.
Strapping of the region may also be of assistance for plantar fasciitis. This can correct foot mechanics and reduce pressure on the plantar fascia. Your health professional will instruct you on what taping styles will work best for you.
Finally, maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the amount of strain placed on your plantar fascia. Your health professional will also be able to give you some helpful lifestyle advice and refer you appropriately if you require more help.
For more advice on Plantar Fasciitis and a demonstration of some stretches that can provide relief, check out the video below by Sydney CBD Osteoapth Dr Abbey Davidson, or click here.
How can a health professional help with Plantar Fasciitis?
It is time to see a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath, if your walking and running capacity has drastically changed due to the pain in your feet, or if you are unable to participate in your normal daily activities (standing, walking, running, etc)
Your health professional will take an in depth history of the pain in your feet and look at your hip, knee, ankle and foot joints for restrictions, range of motion, and muscle tension in the region. Testing will also be done to establish if it is indeed the plantar fascia causing your pain.
Your health professional will then use a range of techniques to decrease muscle tension, address joint restrictions and improve foot mechanics. They may also encourage you to alter your current exercise program, assess your footwear and strap the region.
At the end of your appointment, your plantar fascia will be reassessed for any improvements or changes, and your health professional may take the time to prescribe you some stretches and exercises to continue your progress until your next appointment.