Plantar heel pain also commonly called plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciopathy is a painful condition affecting you underside of your foot towards your heel.
The Plantar fascia is a thick and strong bundle of fibres the start near the heel on the sole of your foot and stretches out to the toes and can become irritated in this condition.
Plantar heel pain affects 1 in 10 people with a 1/3 of those people experiencing symptoms on both feet at some point. It is more common in people aged between 40 and 60 but can affect people in all walks of life both active and sedentary.
Signs and symptoms
Pain is often felt with the first couple steps after getting out of bed, or pain after standing for a long period of time. These symptoms can reduce or disappear completely after a period of moving around. Activities that cause the foot to stretch and take on load are normally most uncomfortable.
What causes it?
Common causes of plantar heel pain include prolonged or repetitive activities (jogging / running), diabetes (particularly Type 2 compared to Type 1), poor biomechanics of the foot, poor fitting/well-worn shoes and being overweight. Males and females over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this problem.
What is best for it?
Due to the multiple factors that can contribute to developing this condition it is always advisable to have a full assessment by a qualified therapist. Some things that can help is managing the amount of load you put through the foot, this may mean you have to temporarily reduce the amount of standing, walking or running that you do.
However, reducing the load can help to manage the pain people often find it returns when they start to increase their activity levels again. This is why it’s vital that during the period of relative rest you start a rehabilitation programme guided by your therapist.
During your rehab some low-level pain whilst exercising is acceptable as long as it’s less than a 5 out of 10 and that it settles within 15-20 mins of finishing with no increase in symptoms the following day.
Early-stage symptom reduction will normally include reduction of aggravating activities combined with ice, taping and stretching the bottom of the foot.
As your pain is settling you need to perform specific exercises to build up tolerance and strength in both the foot, the fascia and the calf muscles over a minimum of a 12-week period.
In some cases seeing a podiatrist to get an orthotic fitted may also be helpful. We work closely with local podiatrist Zoe Wilson who can provide expert advice on footwear selection and orthotic inserts.
Please feel free to forward this information to anyone who you feel might benefit from it.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing heel pain call our reception team on 01539 725220 or visit here to book online for an assessment with one of our expert therapists.