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Plantar Fasciitis

  For an Illustrated Exercise Guide and Exercise Video's for Plantar Fasciitis click here: 

 

Plantar Fasciitis - Why does this happen?
  

The Plantar Fascia is a band of connective tissue which runs on the sole of the foot, from the heel to the toes.

 
 
 
 
  
 

Plantar Fasciitis, or Plantar Fasciopathy, is damage and inflammation to the connective tissue which causes pain under the heel and along the sole of the foot.  Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by tight calf muscles, a repetitive overuse such as excessive walking on hills or uneven surfaces, or mechanical problems in the foot such as over pronation.

 
 
 
  
What are the symptoms?
 
  • Pain and tenderness under the heel and along the sole of the foot.
  • Pain is worse on walking and weight bearing.
  • Pain is worse in the morning.
  • Pain is relieved after a period of rest.    
 
   
 
Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis
 

Your GP or Physiotherapist can usually diagnose Plantar Fasciitis by simply examining your leg and hearing where the pain is and how it started.

 

X-rays and other tests are not usually necessary.
 
 
 
What is the treatment?
 

Plantar Fasciitis will usually recover with some simple changes to activity and exercise.  By trying to avoid or reduce the activity which causes the pain, to allow the damaged tissue time to recover and heal. 

 

To help reduce the symptoms an 'ice pack' can be placed on the painful area for 15 - 20 minutes, twice a day.  Do not place the 'ice pack' directly on the skin.  Wrap the 'ice pack' in a damp towel before placing on the painful area to ensure you do not burn the skin. Elevate the leg where possible for the first 48 hours.

 

During the initial painful stages it is important to manage the pain. Wearing a shoe with a slight heel or a wedge inside the heel of the shoe is beneficial to reduce the stress on the Plantar Fascia as it recovers

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Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications  -  These may be prescribed by your GP if the pain is costant.  This is a temporary measure to break the pain cycle, but can continue as required.
 
Exercise  -  Exercise is important to help regain full ankle movement in the acute stage. Once the pain has settled it is important to strengthen the surrounding muscles and work on your balance to help prevent reoccurrence.  Click here for a list of exercises suitable for Plantar Fasciitis
 

Biomechanical Analysis  -   If there are significant mechanical problems insoles or specific trainers may improve your leg position and help avoid further injuries.  A biomechanical assessment by a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist will determine whether insoles or specific trainers would be of benefit.

 
Physiotherapy  -  If exercise alone does not improve symptoms then physiotherapy treatment may be required.  A physiotherapist can use specific treatments including, ultrasound, deep friction, massage, interferential, acupuncture or taping to help relieve pain and aid recovery. Click here for more information about Physiotherapy.
 
Injections  -  In some cases your GP or Consultant may recommend an injection.  These can be used to reduce inflammation and pain when the symptoms are severe and constant.  This is not a 'cure' and it is important to follow the exercises and modify activities.  A 'Cortisone Injection' can help reduce inflammation in the tendon, whilst a 'PRP Injection' (Platelet Rich Plasma) can help to stimulate healing.
 
Surgery  -  This is not common for Plantar Fasciitis.  In some cases when symptoms are persistent surgery may be considered.    
 
Remember an important part of treatment for Plantar Fasciitis your home exercises and modifying activities.