Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common lower extremity injuries observed in runners. The plantar fascia runs from the calcaneus (heel bone) to the toes, with most of the load falling on the inner aspect. Its role is to help to hold up the medial arch of the foot, therefore any weight bearing exercise on the medial arch stretches the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis was previously defined as a chronic inflammatory condition, however it is now considered a degenerative pathology – more similar to a tendinopathy.

Plantar fasciitis commonly presents as a gradual onset of pain underneath the heel- often more on the inside, which is often most noticeable when taking the first few steps in the morning. Pain is often also aggravated by activities that involve prolonged weight bearing activity such as standing, walking or running, or after weight bearing after a short period of rest (such as standing after sitting at a desk). Any factor that stretches the plantar fascia can be considered a risk factor for plantar fasciitis, which often relates to the environment and training – such as running on hard surfaces, walking or running with little cushioning (e.g barefoot) and sudden increase in intensity or frequency of training. Biomechanical abnormality and muscular dysfunction can also contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.

What can we do about it?
Initially, activities involving repetitive impact such as running (even on a treadmill) should be avoided during the initial stages, to allow the symptoms to settle. Non-weight bearing exercises such as cycling, swimming and rowing can be used to maintain cardiovascular fitness. A graduated return to activity should be implemented once the plantar fascia is asymptomatic and tenderness has eased. Regular ice massage (rolling the foot over a frozen bottle of water) can be useful in reducing plantar fascia pain, in combination with plantar fascia stretches, calf stretches and plantar fascia loading exercises.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.