Healthy Blog

Heel Pain

Monday, March 07, 2016

Put a stop to Heel Pain
Heel Pain – Is it Plantar Fasciitis?
Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Feel like you’ve been stabbed under the ball of your foot?

You may have Plantar Fasciitis, one of the most common sources of heel pain. The cause of your extreme pain is the plantar fascia. This connective tissue runs from the heel bone all along the foot towards the toes. When it becomes inflamed or develops micro tears it can feel like you’ve been bruised by a stone or a sharp object. 

Other symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include:

  • Mild swelling in the heel
  • Heel pain after exercise (but not during).
  • Heel pain after standing for long periods.

What causes of Plantar Fasciitis?

It probably feels like the pain magically appeared one morning when you stepped out of bed, but Plantar Fasciitis is commonly caused traction or compression injuries.

A Traction injury occurs when you have poor foot biomechanics such as weak foot arch muscles or overpronation. People with high arched feet have tighter planter tissue which leads to overstretching and people with flat feet can have reduced shock absorption increasing the strain on the Fascia.

A compression injury on the other hand happens suddenly and occurs by trauma, such as landing on a sharp object or an area with force. The pain may be felt further under your arch.

If you have any form of heel pain it’s best to visit a physiotherapist or Sports Doctor so they can diagnose your condition – it’s not something you can ignore, hoping it will get better. X-Rays and scans may be needed to identify inflammation, plantar fasciitis tears or calcification.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment will be determined by a number of factors:

  1. The cause of your condition – traction or compression
  2. The length of time you have had pain
  3. If there are things that are preventing the healing
  4. If Plantar Fascial tears are present.

Typical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis include:

  1. Initial treatment: Rest, ice and protection.
    The aim is to reduce the pain, stop all movements and activity that cause your foot pain. Ice will help reduce pain and swelling. Apply for 20 minutes, every 2-4 hours. Your physiotherapist may tape your foot to provide pain relief.
  2. Re-mould scar tissue -This involves light active exercises, gentle stretches, massage.
  3. Restore foot arch muscles – These muscles play an important role to prevent excess loading through your plantar fascia. Your Physiotherapist may prescribe foot stabilisation stretches.
  4. Restore Normal leg and calf muscle control – these muscles play a role in controlling your foot arch and may also need treatment or exercises.
  5. Assess footwear – your physiotherapist may recommend orthotic insoles. Orthotics are designed to support the arches and re-align the foot.  As a result, excess strain and stress on the plantar fascia ligament is greatly reduced.
  6. Back to regular movement – take it easy to begin with, stretch well before exercise, apply tape for support and stop if pain occurs.

For a personalized treatment plan for your heel pain and a free initial assessment call Greater West Physio on 02 9670 3800.