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Plantar Fasciitis is the term for a common musculoskeletal condition resulting in pain and inflammation under the foot, commonly presenting in the heel. This condition affects the strong band of fascia (tissue) under the foot which acts as a shock absorber as we transfer weight through the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is therefore often found in runners who load up their fascia with impact as they run. Pain in this area can be very debilitating, affecting daily function as well as limiting ability to continue running and restricting training for events.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is usually reported as a gradual onset of pain under the foot due to a build-up of repetitive trauma, commonly involved in running. The impact involved in running results in this repetitive trauma the fascia of the foot which causes thickening and inflammation in the area.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis include:
  • An increase in activity levels e.g. standing, walking or running
  • A change in surface terrain e.g. from the treadmill to outdoor running on uneven ground or concrete
  • A change in trainers
  • Wearing old worn trainers or insoles while running
  • A sudden over stretching injury of the sole of your foot e.g. during hill sprints or sudden change in direction
  • Tightness in the calf muscles when running resulting in increased strain on the fascia
  • Having a high BMI can increasing the load on the fascia under the foot
  • Development of a bony spur on the heel irritating the plantar fascia (found on X-ray)
Your physiotherapist will assess you and highlight the possible cause of your pain during your 'Biomechanical running' assessment. Treating the cause of the problem is important for gaining improvements with treatment and reducing risk of re-occurrence especially with running or sport in the future.

Therapist applying targeted massage to planta fascia to relieve painAbove: Therapist applying targeted massage to planta fascia to relieve pain

Signs and symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The typical clinical presentation of Plantar Fasciitis is pain in the sole of the foot and heel, and is often associated with running.

Other signs and symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include:
  • A gradual onset of pain
  • Redness and warmth under the foot indicating signs of inflammation of the fascia
  • Pain is worse in the morning and eases with movement
  • Pain easing during running, however increasing following running
  • Pain worse following long periods of standing or walking
  • An altered gait or running pattern due to pain, sometimes resulting in a limp
Signs and symptoms are recorded during the subjective section of a physiotherapy assessment and usually indicate diagnosis following physical assessment without the need for scans or investigations.

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis is aimed at reducing foot pain for a quick return to sport and running.

Initially treatment for Plantar Fasciitis consists of rest from aggravation, ice application, pain relieving medication such as ibuprofen and arch supporting insoles where appropriate. However if pain persists following self-management techniques, physiotherapy is the next step for finding the cause of the problem and reducing pain.

Physiotherapy treatment may include: Physiotherapy generally completely resolves Plantar Fasciitis however for those with persisting pain (usually 1 year+) steroid injections or surgery may be considered.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

There are many benefits of physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis.

Benefits of physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis include:
  • Elimination of pain
  • Return to running or sport
  • Normalised walking or running pattern
  • Return to normal daily function/work pain free
  • Enhanced sporting performance
  • Advice/education and home exercises to minimise risk of re-occurrence

To arrange a biomechanical running assessment with one of the specialist physiotherapists, please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 today. You can also book appointments online using our online booking system

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