Is your summer fizzling out because of foot pain? Has walking to the beach become an uncomfortable chore?
In an effort to help get your summer walking back on track, in this blog I discuss 3 common signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis and how physiotherapy can help.
First off, what is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is caused primarily by degeneration of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of connective tissue that runs the length of your foot from the heel to the base of your toes. Repeated microtears of this tissue over time lead to the pain and discomfort many of us are familiar with.
What are we calling it these days? Fasciitis or fasciopathy?
While people will understand what you mean either way, the current terminology has shifted from fasciitis to fasciopathy or fasciosis, as the condition is not primarily an inflammatory one, rather the inflammation only occurs only as a biproduct of the condition. Therefore, calling it a fasciopathy would be more fitting. This seemingly insignificant difference is important as it changes our treatment approach and how the condition should be managed, but more on this later!
Who gets it?
Statistics show that 1 in 10 people will experience plantar fasciitis in their lifetime and it is the most commonly reported cause of chronic heel pain in adults. While it is stereotypically known to effect runners and people who spend a lot of time on their feet, it can also afflict those who have simply made a change in their activity type, activity volume, or even their footwear.
How do I know if I have it?
Many conditions can present as heel pain so it is important to be properly assessed so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. A physiotherapist can not only assess you for plantar fasciitis specifically but provide the appropriate education and treatment plan to get you back to the activities you love.
Here are 3 common signs and symptoms to watch for:
- Pain specifically over the heel of your foot
- Plantar fasciitis typically presents with heel related pain that sometimes refers into the arch as well.
- Pain with the first few steps in the morning getting out of bed or after long periods of sitting
Some other factors to consider that can be precursors to the development of plantar foot pain:
- Did you have a recent change in activity volume or footwear?
- Did you recently ditch you spring boots with a heel for some flat summer sandals?
Wait, if I just stretch and roll out my foot won’t it go away on its own?
While stretching and rolling out your foot is a great pain management strategy, research has shown that a high-load strengthening program focusing on the plantar fascia as well as the supporting musculature is actually more effective. This approach, coupled with other treatment strategies such as taping, insoles, activity modification, and in more chronic cases, shockwave therapy can be essential to the resolution of plantar fasciitis. These exercises and treatment strategies should be prescribed on an individual case by case basis to ensure the appropriate load, volume, and intensity that is right for you.
Don’t let foot pain keep you indoors this summer! For more information book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists today.
Troy Clare, Registered Physiotherapist & Assistant Clinic Director.
Latt LD, Jaffe DE, Tang Y, Taljanovic MS. Evaluation and Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics. 2020;5(1). doi:10.1177/2473011419896763
Luffy, Lindsey MSPAS, PA-C; Grosel, John MD; Thomas, Randall DPM; So, Eric DPM. Plantar fasciitis: A review of treatments. JAAPA 31(1):p 20-24, January 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000527695.76041.99
Trojian, T., & Tucker, A. K. (2019). Plantar Fasciitis. American family physician, 99(12), 744–750.