What Is Plantar Fasciitis

Damian Wyard is a registered physiotherapist in Downtown Toronto. He combines manual physiotherapy techniques, with the classic Pilates equipment, to treat overuse and sports injuries.  He includes some of the latest research and his years of clinical experience for the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis Heel Bone

Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain seen in out patient clinics. Up to 10% of the population will have this condition over a lifetime. Most of these will be working adults between 25 and 65 years old. It is usually felt as pain on the underside of the heel bone where the plantar fascia attaches. The plantar fascia provides a strong mechanical link between the heel bone and the toes so that it supports the impact of weigh bearing through the foot. Pain is usaully worse first thing in the morning and also with increased weight bearing activity. Walking or jumping will increase the pain. Diagnosis is made in the clinic from the patients history. Palpation of the underside of the heel bone and slightly distally will be tender.

Why Does Plantar Fasciitis occur?

Plantar Fasciitis Body Weight

Generally there are a number of factors that may cause it in any one patient. Some patients report a sudden increase in activity or a change of shoes. Other factors include reduced ankle flexibility and tight calf muscles. Excessive pronation caused by tight calves and weak foot muscles can result in too much loading through the planar fascia. Research has highlighted other risk factors: increased body mass index; stiff ankle and big toe joints; pronation and prolonged standing.

In runners and other impact sports the problem is usually one of the fascia being over-loaded. In runners we look at your running technique to see if there is anything causing it. An example is over-striding which increases the impact through the foot and may also cause to much pronation. The calf and foot may not be strong enough to support your current running schedule. We make adjustments to your current training and technique and provide a rehabilitation program that allows the tissues to heal. In really acute cases there has to be a period of relative rest from training if it is still causing pain.

How Long Does It Take To Go Away:

There are no miracle remedies for plantar fasciitis and it can take up to 3 months to be completely rehabilitated. Although patience is key, the length of recovery will not only depend on the severity of the condition but also on the choice of treatment.

What Is The Best Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis:

There are various treatment available to cure plantar fasciitis, from home remedies to orthotics, what will always be recommended however is regular stretching and strengthening exercises. The latter is always best when incorporated with plantar fasciitis physiotherapy to ensure a proper rehabilitation and prevent a new injury.

Summary:

Whether you’re an active or non-active patient, Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury that is is fairly easy to diagnose as the pain is quite specific and there are common symptoms:

  • Sharp, localized pain under the heel
  • Pain most severe in the morning after the first few steps or after prolonged sitting
  • Pain improves during the day but then gets worse in the evening
  • It can feel like walking on pins and needles

Although plantar fasciitis takes time to heal due to how much we use our feet on a daily basis, several recovery treatments are available depending on the severity of the injury.

Damian Wyard is a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. He is the owner and founder of Pilates4Physio in Downtown Toronto. He updates his approach by applying the latest research on musculo-skeletal conditions and sports injuries. He combines manual therapy, Pilates-based exercise and pain science to treatments. Rehabilitation exercise is provided on the classic Pilates equipment. He can be contacted at info@pilates4physio.ca

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