Plantar fasciitis is actually the most common cause of heel pain. It occurs when the plantar fascia, the ligament connecting your heel bone to your toes, becomes strained. The ligament becomes inflamed and causes pain when walking or standing.
Tension or stress in the plantar fascia increases when you place weight on the foot (when standing, for example). Tension also increases when you push off the ball of the foot and the toes (when walking, for example). With overuse or even just age, the fascia will lose some of its elasticity or resilience and can become irritated – even with routine daily activities.
Before our Doreen and Epping practitioners can determine the appropriate solution for your specific plantar fasciitis treatment plan, they will thoroughly assess you with standard medical, Orthopedic and special Osteopathic tests.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament. You may be at increased risk if you:
Although less common, plantar fasciitis has also been known to develop due to other medical conditions (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
In most cases, the pain caused by plantar fasciitis will gradually increase over time and is typically felt in the heel region. It’s often described as being a stone bruise sensation. Arch pain is less common but can occur.
For most people, the pain tends to be worst first thing in the morning (when they get out of bed and take their first steps) or after sitting and being inactive for long periods. The pain may subside after a few steps but continues to increase throughout the day.
Pain may also increase after prolonged or vigorous activity (such as climbing stairs or even standing for long periods of time). It may seem worse in bare feet or when wearing shoes with minimal support. The pain can also be sudden, occurring after missing a step or jumping from a height.
Your practitioner will check your feet for tenderness and observe you while walking and standing. They may ask you to flex your foot whilst they push on the plantar fascia to see if the pain gets worse.
They will also evaluate the strength of your muscles and the health of your nerves by checking your reflexes, muscle tone, sense of touch and sight, coordination, and balance.
Your physical activities, past injuries and when the pain occurs are also key factors in diagnosing plantar fasciitis. Imaging tests are usually unnecessary. However, your practitioner may choose to take X-rays or ultrasounds to rule out any broken bones or other causes.
Most people who have plantar fasciitis recover in a few months with appropriate treatment. Our highly skilled practitioners can help ease the pain this condition causes in many ways, typically using:
Your practitioner may recommend splints or medical treatment, depending on the severity of the strain. If pain persists for 6-12 months you may require further intervention in the way of steroid injections, ultrasonic tissue repair, or surgery.
If you develop heel pain, contact a practitioner if it doesn’t improve on its own within a week or if your symptoms don’t improve after two weeks of treatment (such as rest, icing, elevation, etc).
Depending on the severity of your pain, it can take anywhere from a few months up to two years for your symptoms to improve. In some cases, if no other treatment is working, surgery may be required.
Whilst anyone can suffer from plantar fasciitis, certain groups seem to be at increased risk. These include:
Occasionally, we see children who are engaged in sports and physical activity develop what is known as juvenile-onset plantar fasciitis. It is important to differentiate between this and other conditions, like Severs disease.
It may not be possible to prevent all cases of plantar fasciitis, however, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid it. These include:
Compassion is an integral part of what we do, and we’re always looking out for the well-being of our patients – we want you to be fit and active as soon as possible
As one of the leading injury clinics in the northern suburbs; our team provides care to those in Doreen, Epping and surrounding areas including Mill Park, Yan Yean, Hurstbridge, Yarrambat, Mernda, Whittlesea and South Morang.
If you have any questions in regard to plantar fasciitis, do not hesitate to call Muscle Bone Joint to arrange an appointment. Our team of allied health professionals including Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Podiatrists offer professional care to address the source of your problem and pain.