Stand Firm, Don't Let Heel Pain Stop You

Plantar Fasciitis is a common overuse injury affecting the sole or flexor surface (plantar) of the foot.

A diagnosis of plantar fasciitis means you have inflamed the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes.

The classic sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain (usually radiating down the inside of the sole of the foot) within the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning.

After a few minutes, the pain may ease, as the foot warms up, then it may reoccur during the day, after extended periods on your feet.

You’re more likely to develop the condition if you are a woman, if you are overweight, or if you have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.

People with very flat feet or very high arches may also be more prone to plantar fasciitis. Your APA physiotherapist will evaluate the way you walk (gait analysis) to determine if there is a biomechanical cause of your condition. They may recommend insoles to support your inner arch and exercises to strengthen the muscles and/or stretch the muscles and fascia.

Your physiotherapist may reduce the pain and inflammation by using ice or heat, or electrotherapeutic modalities like interferential or ultrasound.

Stiff joints around the foot and ankle can be treated using mobilization, where the physiotherapist gently moves the joints manually to remove the stiffness and restore the normal range of movement.

Stretching the plantar fascia is very important for encouraging the tissue to regain its normal alignment.

Studies have shown that stretching the fascia is more beneficial than just stretching the muscles.

Your APA physiotherapist can show you techniques and a range of equipment for stretching at home.

They may also show you how to tape your foot to support the plantar fascia and relieve some of the strain.

If you don’t treat plantar fasciitis, it may become a chronic condition, which is much more difficult to treat.

You may not be able to keep up your level of activity and you may also develop symptoms for foot, knee, hip and back problems because of the way plantar fasciitis changes the way you walk.

Preventing Pain

  • Ensure that you wear appropriate, supportive, well-fitting footwear when exercising, walking, or standing up for long periods.
  • If your weight is a contributing factor, consult a health professional for a healthy weight control plan.
  • Physiotherapists can provide you with a sensible exercise program, tailored to your needs and taking into account your foot problems so that it is not aggravated.
  • Stretching the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, as demonstrated by your physiotherapist, especially before and after exercise, may help to prevent the problem from returning.