Heel Pain – Plantar Fasciitis
Have you decided that foot pain is something you just need to live with?
Stop right there. We have SOLUTIONS To Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis!
Heel pain, more traditionally known as Plantar Fasciitis affects a LOT of people. They say it that heel pain affects up to 1 in 4 people!
Traditionally known as Plantar Fasciitis, this condition in its early days was thought to be due to an inflammation of the Plantar Fascia (plantar= sole of the foot, fascia = thick fibrous ligament in the arch). It is only in more recent years that scientists have found that in its chronic stage (ie greater than a month of having this pain) that there are NO inflammatory markers present. What they did find however was degenerative changes.
What does this mean? We NEED to treat the Plantar Fascia for degenerative changes RATHER THAN treating it as an inflammation.
This means NO
- Ice Water Bottles
- Complete Rest
- Anti-Inflammatory Tablets
- Voltaren Gel
- Cortisone Injections (studies have shown injections actually SLOW healing! Plus they’re darn sore!)
EFFECTIVE treatment is through restoring:
- Pressure evenly through the feet and away from the pain
- Strength in the Plantar Fascia
- Foot and Leg Strength that Support the Plantar Fascia
- Muscle Flexibility in the Foot
- Mobility of the Foot and Ankle
There aren’t many recipes when it comes to the human body …BUT we know how the Plantar Fascia works so we can FIX it!
Hallmark features of Plantar Fascia Pain
- Pain in the morning that eases with walking
- Pain after periods of rest (ie in the morning, after lunch, after sitting down)
- Worse with increasing activity
- Aching at the end of the day
- Worse with unsupportive shoes
My Heel Is Killing Me
This is usually the first thing we hear about heel pain. It is by far one of the most common conditions we treat.
Heel pain can be due to many different reasons. The pain can vary from as little as a niggle, to the extreme of people presenting to hospitals emergency departments!
Heel pain is commonly titled “plantar fasciitis” or “plantar fasciosis”. It is important to know that the area around the heel houses many other ligaments and tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bursa’s. So it is imperative to your pain outcome, that an assessment is performed.
Is it a heel spur? What’s actually happening inside my foot?
People often report that they think there is a spur in their foot causing their pain. This is a common misconception.
A large population study has shown that 50% of the population have a heel spur- that it is a bony related change that happens with age. Not all of those people have pain.
Over many years of tight muscles pulling on the heel, bony growth can occur and has been associated with heel pain. We must note that heel spurs are SECONDARY to pulling and tugging on the heel over years, rather than the primary cause of your heel pain (ie the victim rather than the culprit!). We must treat these driving factors rather than cutting out the spur itself.
Another common misconception is that there is inflammation in the heel. This is incorrect. Scientists have biopsied fascia tissue from those with chronic Plantar Fasciitis and they found NO INFLAMMATION. There were no cell markers to show it! What they did find was that Plantar Fascia Pain was rather caused by weakening of the Fascia & degeneration of the tissue. The body is trying to heal but is not doing a complete job of it. The degeneration begins with small tears within the Plantar Fascia, that then leads to less blood flow, weakness, less elasticity and tugging on the heel bone = PAIN!
This is also why CORTISONES, ICING and REST do NOT HELP!
Heel spurs are often thought as the culprit of heel pain – this is simply not true!
Risk factors for Plantar Fascia Pain
- Those aged 40-60 years
- Hormonal Changes (Menopause)
- Standing occupations on hard surfaces
- Being overweight or obese
- Strenuous exercises
- Stiffness in the ankle joints
Common misconceptions about Plantar Fascia Heel Pain
- Flat feet do NOT mean you’ll get heel pain (flat feet can be WEAK or STRONG)
- Heel cushions and gel pads do not help pain for the long term
- Not all orthotics are created equal. Most supports from the chemist just cushion but don’t change the pressure on the Plantar Fascia. Plus its a one make suits all – how could one generic shape fit all foot types?
- Rigid, hard orthotics do not help either – you need something that’s comfortable & with flex to keep your foot springy but your plantar fascia happy. Read more about our orthotics here.
- Barefoot time is great but when you’re in pain it helps to wear shoes around the house to give some more relief to the angry heels!
- Footwear either too flat or high can really bother a sore heel- let our Podiatrists help you out on that one!
- Painful feet are weak feet – they need to be trained up to strong and mobile once again!
Your Podiatrist will guide your management with strength training to settle the Plantar Fascia Pain!
Plantar Fasciitis is the MOST COMMON condition that we manage effectively every day!
Time to get on top of your pain for good!
Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis FAQ
A typical clinical picture for plantar fasciitis includes foot pain with the first few steps in the morning, which is relieved throughout the day, painful after extended periods of sitting, and then is aching in the evening. The pain can be dull, sharp, burning or aching – to name a few sensations our clients commonly report when they first see us.
What causes it?
- A change in activity levels (eg standing for long periods, increasing amounts of walking or running)
- Wearing unsupportive shoes
- Weak or tight foot and leg muscles
- Hormone changes
How is it treated?
- Foot mobilisation therapy
- Changing footwear
- Stretching and strengthening programs
- Dry Needling
- Orthotic therapy
- Wearing a moonboot
- Corticosteroid injections
- Surgical approaches (referring on)
How are we different at Pod Fit Podiatry?
With every client we see at Pod Fit, we will set goals so that we can work toward exactly what you want to be doing, without pain! Whether that is getting through a day at work or wanting to run that marathon. We provide a full 60 minute initial consultation and 30 minute follow up consultation, so we can provide you the time that your condition requires to promote quicker recovery! We are unique in the sense that we offer foot mobilisation and hand held activator tools, which we find highly effective as part of our comprehensive treatment to manage foot pain
What are the other causes of Heel Pain?
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Heel bumps (Haglunds Deformity)
- Severs Disease
- Flat feet
- Nerve compression/impingement
- Fat pad atrophy
Pod Fit Podiatry
166 Grange Road, Findon
Adelaide SA 5023
Pod Fit Podiatry
31 Smart Road, Modbury
Adelaide SA 5092