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Suffering With Plantar Fasciitis | Heel Pain Symptoms & Treatment | Everything you need to know

PLANTAR FASCIITIS & PLANTAR FASCIA TREATMENT MELBOURNE

Are you tired of waking up every morning feeling like you’re stepping on a bed of nails? Or maybe you dread getting up from the couch because of the unbearable agony that shoots through your feet. If so, you’re likely experiencing the excruciating pain of plantar fasciitis, and let me tell you, you’re not alone.

Every step you take feels like a cruel and unusual punishment, all because of the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a vital tissue band in your foot. The sharp pain and morning stiffness can make you feel trapped and hopeless, but don’t give up. There’s hope.

In this complete guide to treating plantar fasciitis, we’ll detail what causes it and the different ways to get the relief you so desperately need. Whether it’s physiotherapy, custom orthotics, stretching exercises, steroid injections, shockwave therapy, or even surgery, we’ve got you covered.

We know that every person’s journey is unique, so we offer a range of options tailored to your specific needs.

But it’s not just about professional treatment. Important to your recovery are changes to your lifestyle, like staying away from things that make your symptoms worse and wearing shoes that give you support. And don’t forget, there are also simple yet effective home remedies available to you.

Are you ready to take the first step towards a life without pain?

Our guide contains everything you need, whether you’re looking for answers, direction, or a deeper understanding of plantar fasciitis. Join us on this path to recovery and say goodbye to plantar fasciitis once and for all. Don’t let pain control your life any longer.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Foot with red and swollen sole and heel, indicating plantar fasciitis pain.

Plantar fasciitis is a disorder that affects the plantar fascia, which is a dense band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes and helping in the formation of the foot’s arch. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it may cause heel and arch discomfort.

Some people with plantar fasciitis also have a heel spur, an overgrowth of bone where the plantar fascia joins the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis often develops gradually due to repeated foot strain or excessive tension.

Early stages of plantar fasciitis can be managed and treated by wearing shoes with adequate arch support, using orthotics if necessary, offering your feet frequent breaks throughout the day, and performing regular stretching exercises. In cases of recent onset, using ice compresses or anti-inflammatory medications may also reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia and alleviate pain and other symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Why Is The Plantar Fascia Required?

The plantar fascia is a vital component of our feet that facilitates daily movement. It provides a stable base to stand on, absorbs disturbances, and propels us forwards.

Illustration of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel to the toesWhen we are standing, the plantar fascia stabilises the arch of our foot by supporting it. The plantar fascia loosens in the centre of our stride when we walk or run. Thus, our foot can pronate and absorb trauma. As we press off the ground on our toes, the plantar fascia shortens and pulls up the arch of our foot, providing a solid base from which to push off.

The plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are close together and collaborate to send the calf force that propels us forward.Every time we stand on our toes, both of these structures get smaller. This makes our movements easy and effective.

The plantar fascia gives the foot the support, stability, and shock absorption it needs to do everyday things like walk, run, or even just stand. Without it, we would not be able to effectively use the power from our quadriceps to move forwards.

Also, without plantar fascia, the arch of our feet would not be adequately supported. This would increase our likelihood of developing foot injuries, pain, and discomfort. The plantar fascia also helps spread the body’s weight evenly across the foot, which takes pressure off any one spot.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes discomfort in the area of the bottom of the foot near the heel. The main sign of plantar fasciitis is a lot of pain in the arch of the foot and near the heel.This discomfort is typically worse after periods of inactivity, such as first thing in the morning or after sitting for a while. Additionally, pain is felt when standing, walking, and sprinting. Most of the time, the pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot. It can also cause stiffness and edoema in the affected area, which makes it hard to move or put pressure on the foot. Plantar fasciitis usually gets worse over time if it is not treated, so it is important to see a podiatrist, physiotherapist, osteopath, or chiropractor to get rid of symptoms quickly and effectively.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

foot showing redness, swelling, and discomfort in the heel area Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that can be extremely disabling and cause heel pain. It is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and runs along the sole of the foot.

Too much stress on the arch of the foot, insufficient support for the arch, and/or tense calf muscles can cause plantar fasciitis. When activities like running or jumping put too much pressure on the arch of the foot, this can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia. Inadequate or not enough arch support can also make the feet unstable and put more stress on them, which can make the plantar fascia inflamed.

Last but not least, tight calf muscles may also cause heel pain because they limit the range of motion in the ankle joint. This makes walking or running harder on the feet.

The plantar fascia, with repeated wear and tear, will develop microtears. If the cause of these microtears is addressed early, the body will repair it rapidly; if it is ignored, the microtears will continue to develop until there is considerable weakness and fragility in the once tough fibrous band of tissue. Pain should not be ignored, as it simply means a longer recovery and putting up with increasingly high levels of pain.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

octor examining patient's foot to diagnose plantar fasciitis, checking for signs of inflammation and tenderness in the heel area.Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, and the best way to determine if you have it is to undergo a physical examination.

By looking at the arch of the foot, the doctor will look for signs of pain that could be caused by plantar fasciitis. During the physical examination, a heel spur may also be examined. A heel spur is an abnormal growth on the heel bone that happens when the fascia is stretched too much. Even though a heel spur isn’t always a sign of plantar fasciitis, it may be linked to it as a likely cause of heel pain.

A physiotherapist or podiatrist may also order X-rays or other imaging tests to determine whether plantar fasciitis is the only condition causing the pain. To figure out why you have plantar fasciitis, your symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam that looks for tender spots in your feet or ankles, as well as the rest of your lower leg, are all needed.

How long does plantar fasciitis last?

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel discomfort and, if left untreated, can be a debilitating condition that can last weeks, months, or even years without the right treatment. The length of time it takes to get better from plantar fasciitis depends a lot on the person’s overall health, how bad the injury is, and what kind of treatment they receive.

Most cases of plantar fasciitis take between 6 and 18 weeks to get better after getting the right treatment. In some instances, especially when treatment has been delayed, it may take up to 6 to 12 months or even longer.

Rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises, physiotherapy strengthening exercises, orthotics, and night splints are typical initial treatments. If symptoms do not resolve with these treatments, surgery may be necessary. It is important to discuss any new or worsening symptoms with your physiotherapist or podiatrist as soon as possible so that you can initiate an appropriate treatment plan and get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis

Risk factors for this condition include having tight calf muscles and elevated arches and engaging in activities with repetitive impact on the feet, such as running or standing for extended periods. Here is a list of the most common risk factors for plantar fasciitis.

Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60.

Obesity: Excess body weight puts extra stress on the plantar fascia.

People who have flat feet, high arches, or a different way of walking may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis.

Occupation: Jobs that require prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Physical activity: Running and jumping, which cause the feet to hit the ground over and over, can strain the plantar fascia.

Improper footwear: Shoes with inadequate support or cushioning can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Tight calf muscles: Tightness in the calf muscles can put extra stress on the plantar fascia.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop plantar fasciitis.

Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to plantar fasciitis, as it can run in families.

If you have any of these risk factors, it is very important to prevent plantar fasciitis by doing things like stretching your calf muscles often and wearing shoes with a supportive arch.

Can you prevent plantar fasciitis?

If you take good care of your feet, plantar fasciitis can be avoided in many situations, even if you have risk factors for it.

Before engaging in any high-impact activities such as running and jumping, make sure to stretch your calf muscles and the arch of your foot. Tightness in these areas often comes before plantar fasciitis symptoms, but you can keep them away with proper stretching. Don’t forget the importance of proper footwear, too. Plantar fasciitis can be avoided by wearing shoes that fit properly, have adequate cushioning, and provide arch support.

If you’re serious about keeping this condition at bay, consider a foot and lower limb strengthening program. This will not only help to strengthen the fascia, but it will also help to prevent overuse injuries. And don’t overlook the importance of technique. Some people land heavily on their feet, which causes undue strain on the muscles and fascia. That is why, if you are a runner, you should seek the advice of a running physio or osteopath.They can ensure your technique is correct, allowing you to distribute your body’s forces evenly over your feet and preventing plantar fasciitis.

Check if you have plantar fasciitis.

Person using their fingers to press on the bottom of their foot, checking for pain and tenderness in the heel area to determine if they have plantar fasciitis   If you think you may have plantar fasciitis, there are several ways to check for it. The most obvious symptom is pain, especially when getting out of bed or rising from a sitting position. You may also experience pain when putting weight on your foot or when flexing your toes upward. You can also try pressing hard on different parts of your arch and heel to see if there is any tenderness there. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit a sports physiotherapist or podiatrist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

 

What questions should I ask my physiotherapist or podiatrist?

asking a physiotherapist or podiatrist when seeking treatment for plantar fasciitisQuestions like “what is the best treatment for this condition?” “how long will it last?” “what can I do at home to manage symptoms?” and “will I need surgery in order to completely recover?” are all important questions that should be asked.

The responses can help you better understand what to expect from the treatment plan and provide you with a clearer idea of your next steps and expected recovery timeframe. Your practitioner may also provide some advice on how to reduce the possibility of developing plantar fasciitis again in the future.

Are plantar fasciitis and heel spurs the same thing?

No, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are not the same condition. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that produces foot pain, typically near the heel. This condition is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a tissue band that connects your heel bone to your foot. On the other hand, heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the calcaneus (heel bone) and are visible on an X-ray. They are caused by repeated strain or injury to the area and can be painful when directly pressed on. Both conditions can produce pain in similar areas of the foot, and their causes are the same: repeated traction on the plantar fascia. In some people, the muscle and tendon of the plantar fascia simply tear, whilst for other people, the tendon of the plantar fascia where it inserts into the bone actually becomes bone due to repeated stress.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

For most people with plantar fasciitis, the primary concern is getting rid of the pain fast. To treat plantar fasciitis pain, your physiotherapist or podiatrist may tell you to do stretching exercises, wear orthotics, or work on your calf muscles with remedial or sports massage or dry needling.   

In some cases, inflammation can be reduced and healing sped up by using injection therapy or extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Injections of corticosteroids may be used to treat plantar fasciitis if other treatments fail. 

The best treatment for plantar fasciitis is a series of strengthening exercises for the plantar fascia and calf muscle complex.  

Strengthening exercises are an effective way to promote healing and prevent the recurrence of plantar fasciitis. These exercises bring more blood to the hurt area, which helps reduce swelling and speed up the healing process. They also help to strengthen the plantar fascia and the muscles in the calf complex, which can reduce the stress placed on the plantar fascia during weight-bearing activities. Without doing the strengthening exercises, your pain is likely to continue or come back at a later time.  

Heel raises, calf stretches, and toe curls are all examples of exercises that are often suggested for plantar fasciitis. 

Heel raises work by targeting the calf muscles and can be done using bodyweight or resistance. Ideally, you are progressing to doing very heavy slow eccentric exercises for the calf muscles

Calf stretches are meant to make you more flexible and loosen up tight calf muscles, which can make plantar fasciitis symptoms worse. 

Toe curls are a good way to strengthen the plantar fascia and the foot muscles, which can help relieve pain and speed up the healing process.

It’s important to note that strengthening exercises should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist or a podiatrist. They can help you come up with an exercise plan that fits your needs and make sure you’re doing the exercises right so you don’t hurt yourself more.

These treatments can provide pain relief and aid in restoring normal function for the majority of plantar fasciitis sufferers. In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat the worst cases of plantar fasciitis.

In comparison to a podiatrist, how will a physiotherapist treat plantar fasciitis?

In an ideal world, both the podiatrist and the physiotherapist will treat your specific case of plantar fasciitis, which is frequently treated with a combination of modalities.  They should both be doing a comprehensive assessment and addressing the primary cause of plantar fasciitis, which is often tight calf muscles and biomechanical abnormalities of the foot, ankle, and leg.  

Most of the time, a physiotherapist will treat plantar fasciitis pain with massage techniques like deep tissue massage or dry needling. In addition, they may use shockwave therapy and eccentric strengthening exercises to increase muscle strength and decrease localised pressure. 

A podiatrist is more likely to recommend orthotics or supportive footwear for plantar fasciitis treatment, but he or she may also perform all of the same treatments as a physiotherapist. 

 In my experience, the real difference comes down to the fact that podiatrists are much more likely to recommend orthotics at the start. Podiatrists have significant training in orthotics as part of their university training, whereas physios, osteopaths, and chiropractors have to do short courses to learn how to apply orthotics for patients. In Australia, you can also use your private health insurance to pay for orthotics made by a podiatrist, but you can’t do that with physiotherapists. 

At Premier Sports Medicine, we have physiotherapists and podiatrists who work together to provide the best treatment for patients in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. We recommend you start with our physios, who can then refer you to the podiatrist if that is required for orthotics.  

STRETCHING AND STRENGTHENING EXERCISES FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS 

Illustration of exercises for stretching and strengthening the foot to help manage plantar fasciitis, including calf stretches, toe curls, and towel scrunches

Stretching and strengthening are essential components of plantar fasciitis treatment. Stretching exercises can aid in reducing tension in the plantar fascia and calf muscles, thereby enhancing foot support and alleviating discomfort.

Strengthening exercises can help stabilise the foot and ankle, which can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia.Toe stretches, heel lowers, calf raises, and standing calf stretches are examples of stretches. Single-leg balance exercises, towel curls, mini-squats, step-ups, heel raises, and resistance band exercises are examples of strengthening exercises.

 In addition, wearing supportive shoes with adequate cushioning is essential for alleviating plantar fasciitis pain. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be alleviated through a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises and the selection of appropriate footwear.

Rehabilitation and return to play are important elements of any athlete’s recovery. 

Return to play is the process of returning to competition or training after an injury. Rehabilitation is the process of getting an injured part of the body back to the way it was before the injury. This is done through physical therapy and other treatments.When done correctly, both procedures can help athletes recover from injuries and resume their active lifestyles.Typically, the rehabilitation process involves stretching, strengthening, balance training, and coordination activities. Return to play entails progressively increasing the athlete’s activity level with an emphasis on safety. Both processes should be performed under the supervision of a qualified medical professional who understands how to properly manage an athlete’s recuperation and provide them with the most effective treatment for optimal performance.

Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy is a pain-relieving, non-invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis that reduces inflammation and pain. The shock waves induce microtrauma, which stimulates the body’s natural healing response, aids in the dissolution of scar tissue in the fascia, and reduces inflammation. This treatment is best used in conjunction with eccentric strengthening exercises, orthotics, or night splints. Typically, multiple treatments administered over time are required to obtain optimal results. With the proper care and attention, shock wave therapy can help reduce pain and improve mobility, allowing patients to return to sports or other activities.

Braces and supports for plantar fasciitis

Braces and supports are essential to the treatment of plantar fasciitis. They reduce pain and inflammation and provide support for the feet, which can often offer immediate relief from pain and make walking easier. They can be worn inside shoes, and they come in different shapes and sizes to meet the needs of most people. Additionally, supports such as orthotics, arch supports, heel cups, and heel wedges may be utilised to alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia ligament. It is very important for people with this condition to wear shoes with enough arch support. Plantar fasciitis can be very painful, but braces and supports can help ease the pain and speed up the healing process.

NIGHT SPLINTS

Night splints are an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis-related pain and discomfort. As the name suggests, they are a device worn at night to aid in the stretching and relaxation of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. This can help reduce foot and ankle discomfort while increasing flexibility. Night splints are adjustable and lightweight, making them pleasant to wear while sleeping. The design of these devices keeps your feet in a neutral position throughout the night, preventing your plantar fascia from cramping up overnight, which then becomes very painful when you put your full body weight on it first thing in the morning. Night splints can also be used for heel spurs and Achilles tendinitis, in addition to plantar fasciitis. With regular use, these devices can help alleviate the associated pain and discomfort.

Surgical or other procedures

When non-conservative remedies have failed to alleviate plantar fasciitis, surgical procedures may be considered. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy is one of these procedures. This procedure involves making small cuts in the foot, putting in a camera and other tools, and making small cuts in the damaged plantar fascia ligaments. This releases the tension and helps the foot heal completely. It is usually used when less invasive treatments haven’t worked or when there is a considerable amount of inflammation. There is no requirement for general anaesthesia, and there is less scarring than with open procedures. It is important to remember, though, that this procedure can have a high recurrence rate, so it should only be used after all other treatments have failed.

CORTICOSTEROID INJECTIONS

Injections of corticosteroids are frequently used to treat plantar fasciitis. In most cases, these injections are given in a doctor’s office. A steroid medication is injected directly into the inflamed part of the foot. The corticosteroid relieves pain and reduces inflammation. Some people may feel temporary pain or swelling in the area where they got an injection, but this should go away quickly. Corticosteroid injections can be given every few weeks if needed, but they shouldn’t be given more than three or four times a year because there is a chance that they will cause negative side effects.

Why cortisone injections won’t fix plantar fasciitis

Cortisone injections are not a long-term solution for plantar fasciitis Cortisone injections are a common way to treat plantar fasciitis, but they won’t cure the problem. Cortisone can temporarily relieve pain and swelling from plantar fasciitis, but it doesn’t treat what’s causing it. The big problem is that repeated injections can weaken the plantar fascia. To treat plantar fasciitis and stop it from getting worse, you need long-term solutions like stretching and strengthening exercises and foot arch support. If you do have a cortisone injection, you must complete the necessary rehabilitation; otherwise, your symptoms will simply come back because the problem is still there. Because of these things, cortisone injections are less likely to be suggested as a way to treat plantar fasciitis. For long-term relief, a more comprehensive approach is needed.

So what is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can be hard to treat, especially when it has been there for a long time, but there are ways to stop the excruciating heel pain that comes with it. 

Deep tissue massage can relieve tension and reduce inflammation in the affected area. 

Dry needling is another good way to target trigger points that make heel pain worse. 

Shockwave therapy can help break down scar tissue in the affected area. 

For more strength and flexibility, eccentric strengthening exercises are recommended. 

Orthotics may also be prescribed to provide extra support and cushioning for the plantar fascia and significantly reduce pain.. 

When these treatments are used together, they can help people with plantar fasciitis feel better and return to normal lives.  So there is no single best treatment for plantar fasciitis.  The best treatment for plantar fasciitis is a combination of treatments addressing acute pain and inflammation and also the causative factors.  

Home remedies for plantar fasciitis

ome remedies for managing plantar fasciitis

Wear supportive shoes

Try to wear shoes that provide good arch support and have a low heal, especially if you’re going to be on your feet a lot. This helps to support your plantar fascia and prevent them from becoming inflamed. Shoes such as slippers, ug boots and thongs can make plantar fascia much worse so when at home wear supportive shoes even inside hte house.   

Use a night splint.

Plantar fasciitis can be relieved with night splints, which stretch your arches and calves overnight. These are most effective for people who have had plantar fasciitis for at least six months. Most are designed to last one to three months and are available in both hard and soft models.

Stretching

Stretching the arch of your foot and your calf can help relieve the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Try lunging forwards with one leg while keeping the foot on your other leg as close to the ground as possible. 

Massage

To relieve pain in your heels, you can use simple massage techniques. Massage your arches and heels with your thumbs, working from the balls of your feet up to your heel. You can also massage your arches with a golf ball. Place your foot on the golf ball, hold onto something stable, and roll the golf ball under your arches.

Apply ice

An ice pack can help reduce inflammation, so cover your ice pack with a cloth or thin towel, and hold it over the painful area three to four times daily for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. 

You can also freeze a water filled plastic bottle and perform ice massage by resting your food on the bottle and gently massaging it back and forth.  

Nutrition and supplements for plantar fasciitis

Diet and nutritional supplements are essential components of any plantar fasciitis treatment regimen. Getting enough vitamins and minerals and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help reduce inflammation, speed up tissue repair, and improve your overall health. Foods that are high in vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the inflammation that comes with plantar fasciitis. Also, getting enough protein can help the connective tissues that support the feet grow strong and healthy. Lastly, taking glucosamine sulphate or chondroitin sulphate can aid in the regeneration of damaged connective tissues in the soles. Even though diet and supplements may not completely get rid of plantar fasciitis, they can help relieve pain and speed up the healing process. If you eat a healthy diet, primarily a Mediterranean diet, you should get all of the nutrients you require without taking supplements.

 If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, we understand how challenging and frustrating it can be. We understand how challenging and aggravating plantar fasciitis can be if you’re experiencing it. Heel pain can impact your quality of life by limiting your ability to move freely and engage in your favourite activities. However, we want you to know that you do not have to endure your suffering alone. Our expert practitioners at the Sports Clinic, located in Brunswick, Melbourne, are here to assist you in obtaining pain relief and returning to an active lifestyle.

Our team of expert practitioners has a lot of knowledge and experience in the fields of sports medicine and podiatry.We understand the complexity of plantar fasciitis and the impact it can have on your daily life, which is why we offer a variety of individualised treatment options. We want to find the best treatment for you, which might include physical therapy or stretching exercises.

At Premier Sports and Spinal Medicine, we offer a comfortable, friendly environment where you can feel good about the care you’re getting.Our team takes a patient-centered approach, taking the time to listen to your concerns and objectives and developing a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific requirements.

If you’re done with plantar fasciitis and ready to do something about it, we can help. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation and learn about our plantar fasciitis treatment options. With our assistance, you can find the alleviation necessary to get back on your feet and resume your favourite activities.

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