Physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis 

What is plantar fasciitis? 

Plantar fasciitis is pain on the sole of the foot under the heel. The name plantar fasciitis indicates that there is inflammation of the plantar fascia, this can be misleading as there is little evidence that it is an inflammatory condition. 

The Plantar fascia is a rigid fascia that sits under the sole of the foot. It supports your body’s natural muscle structures and assists these muscles by working as a “spring” when we walk and run. 

What triggers plantar fasciitis? 

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the structures in the sole of the foot become overloaded. This may be due to on significant event or an accumulation of forces over time. Often a change in footwear or sudden increases in activity level can trigger an episode. 

What does plantar fasciitis feel like? 

Plantar fasciitis is typically felt as a sharp or burning pain under the heel. The pain is usually worst first thing in the morning after arising from bed. Usually you can “warm up” and the pain settles, however the pain often comes back with fatigue. 

How do you get plantar fasciitis to go away? 

This is the $64 million dollar question??? The best cure is prevention. Being cautions with overloading your lower limb by gradually upgrading training loads is the best way to avoid it occurring. 

A thorough assessment of your aggrevating factors and a thorough physical assessment of your foot mechanics and strength are vital. Physiotherapy treatment can include dry needling, soft tissue therapies and a stretching program. We will always advise on techniques to modify your training regime. 

Physiotherapists may also use strapping techniques to support the structures in the sole of your foot. If taping is beneficial then orthotic shoe inserts can be provided.  

Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis 

This will largely depend on the underlying cause of your pain. There are several mainstays of self management such as rolling the sole of your foot with a bottle or golf ball that are shown to have limited benefit.  

Serial stretching of the fascia with either a towel or up against a wall often gives relief first thing in the morning. We advise stretching for 30 seconds to 1 minute with a straight knee and a bent knee. 

Strengthening of the ankle and foot musculature is also recommended. Performing between 10-20 repetitions of each exercise is recommended. 

Night splinting can also be of great benefit. See below

Peakhurst Physiotherapy provides assessment, treatment, orthotic prescription and exercise prescription within the Peakhurst, Lugarno, Riverwood and Oatley areas.

By Peakhurst Physio

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