The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue in the sole of your foot that runs from the base of the heel to the base of the toes. Along with the muscles of the foot and ankle, the plantar fascia helps to support the arch of your foot during walking. The plantar fascia also has connections that run through to the Achilles tendon. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this connective tissue due to overstretching, overuse, degeneration due to weakness, or congenital conditions.
Why do I have plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can have many causes ranging from simple things such as unsupportive footwear, flat feet, overtraining, or weakness due to inactivity. Some common causes for plantar fasciitis are listed below:
- Running and jumping sports e.g. rugby, running, football
- Extended time on feet
- Large body mass (BMI)
- Flat or high-arched feet
- Tight Achilles and Calves
- A sudden increase in walking or activity
What are some signs and symptoms?
- Painful steps first thing in the morning
- Sharp or dull heel and foot pain
- Burning sensation under the feet
- Mild swelling on the instep of the heel
- Pain after exercise finishes
How can Physiotherapy help with plantar fasciitis?
Exercise is often important in increasing the strength and load tolerance of the plantar fascia, as well as the surrounding tissue and muscle. Actively strengthening your calf muscles (by doing calf raises!), balance exercises (like single balance!), and foot strength (curling a towel with your toes!), are great ways to manage some of the pain and begin to regain some function. If you find these difficult, don’t worry, your Physio will find an exercise that is appropriate for you. Additionally, temporarily switching out high-impact sports for low-impact activities like swimming and cycling, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet (as much as possible), and wearing high-quality supportive footwear can help reduce the pain.
Okay, how long does it take to heal?
Plantar fasciitis typically resolves with targeted therapy over a period of 6-9 months! Sooner if you catch it early. If left untreated and poorly managed, PF can become worse over time and become a chronic nuisance and have further effects on your knees, hips, and lower back. Severe cases can warrant corticoid steroid injections and even surgery
Tips and Tricks from the Alpha team 😉
- Come see us in the clinic!
We are more than happy to assist you in achieving your goals and help you get out of pain, and back into doing what you love.
- Strengthen your calves
Doing exercises like calf raises are great ways to strengthen your calf muscles (there are also easier options).
- Strengthen your feet
Exercises like towel scrunches and arch raises are great ways to strengthen the muscles in the sole of your foot.
- Improve your balance
Challenging your balance by doing things like a single leg stance is a great way to challenge all the muscles in your lower and upper limbs. (Too Sore? We can give you some easier exercises)
- Electrophysical Agents
Electrophysical agents such as therapeutic ultrasound and infrared therapy can help to stimulate healing in the plantar fascia. Interferential current can also help to provide relief from pain. All these treatments and more are available at Alpha Physio.