What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a hypersensitive condition of the connective tissue underneath the centre of your heel. Commonly the fascia is most sensitive to place pressure through first thing in the morning. Literature often explains it as an inflammatory condition, however, we know it’s actually a thickening of the highly sensitive fascia (elastic connective tissue which is NOT a ligament or tendon). As a result, we treat the condition with a different series of treatments as rest alone is not the best answer.
Where is Plantar Fasciitis located?
When you have plantar fasciitis pain, you usually feel pain in the bottom of the heel or the arch of the foot. Some people describe the pain as feeling like a bruise or an ache. The pain tends to gradually go away once you begin walking around. However with continued walking or long periods of rest such as sleep the pain may return.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
When asked "What does Plantar Fasciitis feel like?" The best explanation is the following: Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up after sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it.
The examination process for plantar fasciitis:
How is plantar fasciitis examined? Visiting Melbourne Sports Podiatry for an examination and treatment is the best option when it comes to looking into the correct treatment options for you.
Why do you need a consultation? The heel contains not only the plantar fascia, but many other structures such as the heel bone, Baxter's nerve, fat pad and the flexor digitorum brevis muscle which often may present with similar symptoms. With a number of quick and specific tests, we can often quickly and correctly diagnose the problem and begin treatment immediately on the same day.
Your podiatrist at Melbourne Sports Podiatry will examine your foot and look for these signs:
- Flat feet or a high arch
- An area of maximum tenderness on the bottom of your foot, just in front of your heel bone
- Pain that gets worse when you flex your foot and the doctor pushes on the plantar fascia (the pain improves when you point your toes down)
- Limited motion within of your ankle
- Footwear and movement patterns
- Calf and muscle weakness or tightness
Treatment process for plantar fasciitis:
Various treatment options may include dry needling the calf muscles, steroid injections under ultrasound and providing supportive padding, strapping or orthotics. The one non-negotiable treatment option at Melbourne Sports Podiatry for Plantar Fascitiis is you must complete our plantar fascia exercises to best offload and align the ankle and foot. Furthermore, at-home self-care such as massaging the plantar fasciitis and ensuring the correct shoes are worn can be helpful in conjunction with our treatment plan.
As mentioned, sometimes treatment plans can include the use of orthotics. Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis is not an uncommon occurrence to reduce foot pain, alleviate consequent inflammation around the plantar fascia as well as provide the arch with support. We do realise some people may not wish to use orthotics and hence why we have other treatment options we can adopt if not in conjunction with our orthotics.
Will you be able to walk or run pain-free again?
Having Plantar Fasciitis does not mean you have to stop living your life. Doing things like running with plantar fasciitis is still a reality for anyone suffering from this ailment. It is however important to ensure the following precautions are followed:
- calf stretches (to ensure your leg muscles are warmed up)
- ice packs
- shoe inserts (in worst-case scenarios)
- professional care (as soon as you think it may be the Plantar Fascia causing the pain)
By following the tips above, treatments for plantar fasciitis with your podiatrist is the best way to deal with the issue in a quick and safe manner, ensuring no further damage is done to your feet or legs.