Plantar Fasciitis- What can I do about my foot pain?
As you get out of bed and take your first few steps you feel a stabbing, burning pain at the bottom of your foot. You are probably thinking: “What can I do about my foot pain?”
Plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of foot pain. It involves inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Your plantar fascia stretches when you put weight on your foot and then shortens back to maintain the arch.
So what exactly is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the fascia generally caused by small tears or over-stretching the fascia.
What are the symptoms?
- Gradual onset of stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot often near the heel; it may radiate forwards into the foot (foot arch pain).
- Pain most common in the morning when you first get out of bed. This is because at night the plantar fascia temporarily shortens and when you stand the inflamed or torn fibres stretch again.
- Pain usually diminishes once you start moving but may return after long periods of standing, getting up from prolonged sitting or exercising.
- Tenderness may be felt under the sole of the foot and on the inside of the heel when pressing in. The pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to very painful depending on how badly it is damaged.
Note: Foot pain experienced at night, may indicate a different problem
What are the causes?
Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia acts as a shock-absorbing bowstring, which supports the arch of the foot. When too much tension and stress is place on this bowstring, small tears may arise in the fascia as a result. Repetitive tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.
This is more likely to happen if:
How is it diagnosed?
It is important you have a thorough assessment with a Physiotherapist to ensure the correct diagnosis and therefore treatment.
So what is the treatment?
Physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for plantar fasciitis as well as the pain that it causes. The client’s body, posture and mechanics are screened to ensure that the problem is not arising from elsewhere. Physiotherapy treatment involves very precise techniques that involve adjustments, mobilisations and exercises to the feet and ankles or other problematic areas. This treatment provides several benefits:
- Education- It is important you know what the problem is and why it is happening. Your Physio will be able to discuss everything on a condition so you can understand why it happened and how it can be managed.
- Stress reduction in the Plantar Fascia – Adjustments, stretches and manual techniques made to the heel and foot take the pressure off of the plantar fascia, allowing it to relax.
- Promotes Healing – When the stress on the plantar fascia is reduced, the foot can begin to heal. Specific exercises that stretch the ligament may be recommended to aid in the healing process. Lifestyle changes as well as nutritional adjustments can help with the pain and condition.
- Provides Effective Pain Management –Specific adjustments and exercises address the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. This means a more effective form of pain management that lasts longer.
- Reduces the Risk of Further Injury – Physiotherapy’s whole body approach helps realign and strengthen the body effectively so that the injury doesn’t reoccur.
If this treatment is not effective you may be referred to a podiatrist.
My life saving tips:
Firstly, the most important tip is to seek a diagnosis from a health professional. The correct diagnosis is imperative in guiding the treatment. We not only want to take away the symptom but also the root cause of the problem.
- Do exercises before you get out of bed. This can be as simple as pointing your toes down and then lifting your foot up slowly a few times.
- Freeze a 500ml round bottle of water. Place it on the floor and firmly roll it under your foot (applying quite a bit of pressure) to massage the fascia.
- Wear shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole