Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a painful condition affecting the sole of the foot where the a thick band of connective tissue attaches into the heel (called the calcaneus). It may involve inflammation and damage to the fibrous tissue where it inserts into the bone, with repeated tractional stresses at the same location sometimes giving rise to the formation of a bony heel spur.

For anyone who knows the pain of Plantar Fasciitis, they know it can be a debilitating curse. It can significantly hamper daily activities, limit recreation and sporting involvement and thus reduce their overall cardio-vascular fitness. A secondary complication from it is that it can impact on the medical management of other conditions including body weight, blood pressure, lipid and diabetes control, and can adversely affect osteopenia and osteoporosis prevention programs.

Unfortunately, Plantar fasciitis is common—statistics from the US suggest that as many as 2 million Americans present for treatment of PF every year, with 1/3 of these having symptoms in both feet.

What are the risk factors?

  • Being overweight
  • Calcaneal spur on X-ray
  • Middle age—the incidence of PF peaks between 40 and 60 years of age
  • Prolonged weight bearing due to work demands
  • Reduced dorsiflexion range at the ankle of < 10°
  • Reduced range of 1st MTP joint (your big toe) extension while in dorsiflexion
  • Heel Fat pad atrophy (reduces the 'cushion' under your heel
  • Flat feet (Excessive foot pronation) and reduced intrinsic muscular control

At Belmont City Physiotherapy Clinic, we can help in many different ways. Thorough examination of your foot mechanics will often reveal issues that may respond well to manual therapy and a number of different treatment modalities we frequently use. Correction and support of your arch with either taping or orthotics is helpful in many cases, especially when combined with the right set of exercises to stretch, mobilise and strengthen your foot and lower leg. We can offer advice on how best to maintain your fitness during recovery, and advise you on the best course of action to take. Some cases of PF are indeed stubborn and slow to resolve; in these rare cases we can refer you on to appropriate medical specialists for further options.