Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

Westwood Total Health


What is Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition affecting the sole, commonly on the heel. Those with the condition dislike pressure placed on the heel. With the correct management, plantar fasciitis will resolve with the correct treatment.

Plantar fasciitis is the thickened tissue on the soul of the foot. It pads the foot and has elastic properties to transmit the forces of the calf muscle, allowing you to spring. It provides shape to your foot arch allowing shock absorption and even distribution of your weight as you put a load through it. If too much load is placed on the foot, it can inflame and become painful.

Plantar fasciitis usually happens from too much activity, for example, on a hiking holiday or with increased stretch on the tissues. For instance, swapping to unsupportive sandals in the summer, from the usual supportive lace-up shoes you wear most of the year.

What to do about Plantar Fasciitis

Informing your health care provider of the early warning signs and avoiding aggravating activities is key to a speedy recovery. Weight-bearing activities such as walking and running are common aggravators. So temporarily reducing these for activities and replacing them with activities such as swimming or cycling can help as these do not put as much load through the plantar fascia.

Address your footwear. If you tend to walk around in flat, unsupportive shoes, find a more supportive lace-up shoe with good arch support.

Try different insoles. If your pain is predominantly in your heel, a doughnut-shaped insert may be helpful. Alternatively, you may need more support in your arch if the pain is in this area. Shoe inserts or orthotics are good options for this while we work on building up the strength in your foot.

Roll an ice bottle under your foot; this reduces the inflammation and helps stretch the tissues gently.

Stretching can reduce the excess load on the plantar fascia. The connective tissue is a continuation of the muscles in your calf and the Achilles tendon. It’s necessary to address any tension in both areas, ensuring that you hold the position for the prescribed time.

High-load strength training is an effective treatment of plantar fasciitis, shown in studies to reduce pain and improve function quickly. The AFX ankle-foot maximizer is an easy-to-use strengthening device specifically designed to address foot and ankle weakness. The innovative resistance band system encompassing all intensities, multidirectional capabilities and flexible foot support make the AFX a top choice for plantar fascia treatment and performance.

Extracorporeal shock-wave therapy is a technique you and your therapist may also consider. Shockwave is a non-invasive therapy that uses non-thermal, low-frequency sound waves. When directed towards the injured tissues, the sound wave energy gives the tissues a micro-massage at a cellular level.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in healthcare clinics and occurs in about 10% of the general population and primarily in active working adults, and it can take time to settle. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at Westwood Total Health. Together, we will work to overcome this, and In time, you’ll be back to doing what you love the most.