Foot and heel pain can really impact your day. It can be a hard area to avoid aggravating through use and movement, for obvious reasons!
A very common cause of heel pain is a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. This is an inflammatory condition of the thick connective tissues of the heel and sole of the foot.
The sensation is usually described as a sharp, stabbing feeling directly under the heel. Its generally most painful first thing in the morning, or after resting for some time. Depending on the severity, this can last anywhere from a few moments, to being felt constantly throughout the day.
It can be caused by an acute injury or strain to the plantar fascia, and can also develop over time. People who are on their feet for long hours can develop this foot pain, especially if they don't have good supportive footwear.
Our bodies are pretty good at finding work arounds to keep us moving, so if you're experiencing plantar fasciitis, you may notice some compensation patterns like limping, reduced ankle mobility, taking smaller steps, or toe walking to avoid pressure to your heel. Short term, these compensation patterns are fine, but if the heel pain becomes chronic then these altered movement patterns can lead to other pains further up the body.
What can be done about Plantar Fasciitis?
Do you need help with heel pain?
Book in with our team so we can help you with a treatment plan.
Does this sound familiar?
Terrible pain in your first few steps in the morning.
Pain on standing up if you’ve been sitting for a little while.
Putting weight on that foot can be agony.
You feel it strongest in the heel or arch of your foot.
Once you get moving it seems to calm down.
If you're saying yes to these symptoms, you could be dealing with a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. Its quite common, and one of the most frequent foot pains that our myotherapists help people with.
Plantar Fasciitis is a very painful condition that affects your heel and the sole of your foot. Often the mornings are the worst pain, people often explain they feel like they have to hobble about for the first few minutes of their day.
Usually it affects one foot or the other - some very unfortunate people can get both feet affected at the same time.
Symptoms include heel pain; arch pain; altered walking patterns; cramps or spasms in the sole of the foot. Usually the pain reduces after getting moving, but those first few steps can be uncomfortable through to excruciatingly painful.
What kinds of treatments work best for Plantar Fasciitis?
The techniques I've found that work the best for people with Plantar Fasciitis are:
The hands on treatment sessions are only part of the recovery plan though. Like with most pains or injuries, looking at the way you move and stretch outside of your time in the clinic is important to helping you feel better, quicker. Our therapists will show you some simple but effective movements that help you to stretch your foot and leg to reduce the pain. We can also offer you some temporary pain relief suggestions like ice bottle rolling and using spiky physio balls.
Ready to look at a plan for kicking Plantar Fasciitis?
Book a 60 Minute Initial Consultation with us. We'll assess your movement and muscle balance, give you a feel-good hands on treatment, and walk you step by step through your treatment plan.
Its a Saturday night, and I'm away at the in-laws holiday house for the weekend - studying!!
I've just submitted an assessment for my Bachelor degree - a summary on a randomised controlled trial on the effectiveness of Myofascial Release for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis.
This study was published earlier this year (January 2017), and I'm really happy to say that it backs up the way I've been approaching Plantar Fasciitis for years!
The study took 30 patients with chronic Plantar Fasciitis and split them into two groups - Group A received 10 Myofascial Release treatments plus a self-stretching program to do at home, and Group B received only the self-stretching program.
The group who were receiving the Myofascial Release had work done to the under side (the "plantar" side) of their foot, releasing the fibers of the plantar fascia from the heel towards the toes in long, slow, stretching movements.
The self-stretching program for both groups included stretching both major lower leg muscles - the Gastrocnemius (the bulky calf muscle) and the Soleus (which lays underneath the Gastrocnemius)
The study found that both groups showed improvement, however the individuals in Group A who received the hands on Myofascial Release treatment and the self-stretching program showed a significant difference in results than Group B who only received the self-stretching program.
When I treat a patient for Plantar Fasciitis, I also include Myofascial Release for the muscles of the legs particular the Gastrocnemius and Soleus, and I also highly recommend a spiky massage ball for home use in addition to the self-stretching routine.
Cheryl, one of my patients with Plantar Fasciitis, has this to say about her treatment with me:
"I can certainly attest to the treatment's success as you know Mel. Having walked the Camino in Spain in 2014 where I developed plantar fasciitis, I came to you for treatment before going back to do it again in 2016. The thought of walking another 900 kms with PF wasn't appealing but after your treatments and regular daily stretching, I walked successfully without any PF the second time. My hero Mel.
p.s. I'm going to Portugal next year to walk the Camino from Lisbon to Santiago. Only 630 kms this time. Hahaha"
If you have Plantar Fasciitis, I would love to see you at my new Ferntree Gully clinic to begin a treatment plan that includes Myofascial Release and a stretching program - you can book your first appointment online!
Kumar, R., Sarkar, B., Saha, S., & Equebal, A. (2017). Efficacy of Myofascial Release Technique in Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, January-March 2017, Vol. 11, No. 1
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