Will physiotherapy help plantar fasciitis?
Another week and another busy clinic. People are really trying to get out exercising despite the dark evenings and the January weather, which is great to see, but unfortunately for some they are running into issues as they do. This week I am going to give a rundown on the most common foot problem we treat – plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis, explained by Shane Brennan – chartered physiotherapist at Mid West Physiotherapy, Limerick, with a clinical interest in foot disorders.
What is it?
Plantar Fasciopathy (Or Fasciitis) is pain on the sole of the foot. It is usually most notable after a period of inactivity, so pain on the first steps in the morning, or after we have been sitting for a long time. Often, the pain will ease the more we walk on it. We can get through our day-to-day activities only for the pain to return after we have taken a break for lunch! Because of this, people often leave it a long time before seeking out treatment.
Why do my feet hurt?
The process which causes Plantar Fasciopathy is thought to be an overstretching of the fascia underneath the foot. Repetitive overstretching can cause microtears in the fascia, which causes your pain! While you are up and about and moving, this micro-tearing is happening, but at such a minor level that our body doesn’t bother telling us about it. When we have rested for a while, the fascia tightens up to try and heal the microtears, meaning by the time we stand up, there is a lot more tightness and pain.
What are the risk factors?
There are, as always, loads of reasons why this can happen! The main causes include high arched feet, inappropriate footwear, overtraining and calf & Achilles tightness. Most people I see with this issue have a variety of risk factors. It’s only through a thorough assessment that we can determine the exact cause.
What can I do today to make it better?
- Relative Rest/Activity modification – rest from what is aggravating to reduce the load.
- Anti-inflammatories & Ice also help in some instances
- Shock absorption insoles or heel cups can be helpful in reducing pain
- Rehabilitation exercises – Again this will be tailored to the exact person, but usually a combination of stretching & strengthening will help
Will I have to stop exercising?
No! As with most of the injuries in the foot and ankle, I would never recommend complete rest from exercise to treat plantar fasciitis. It is important to modify activities, again based on the individual risk factors we have identified on assessment, but a good guide is to continue with any exercise, if it isn’t causing pain worse than 3-4/10 on a pain scale.
Can I book an appointment with you?
Yes! If you would like us to assess your heel pain and give you a tailored recovery plan, you can book an appointment with us online, or your can contact our Reception by ringing 061-201444 or emailing email@example.com.