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How to get rid of plantar fasciitis

Published: 27 March 2018 - Clinical Conditions

Image of feet plantar fasciitis

One of the more common foot complaints is pain underneath the foot, either in the middle of the arch itself, or where the arch meets the heel bone.

The primary piece of tissue that runs through the undersurface of the foot is called the plantar fascia. Inflammation of this structure is called plantar fasciitis - and if it persists for long enough, a little heel spur (bony growth off the heel bone) may form.

What causes plantar fasciitis?Image of plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually, although once present sufferers can experience very sharp stabbing pain – particularly first thing on the morning, or when they move again after being seated for a period of time.

There are a range of potential causes of plantar fasciitis, including flat feet, tight calves, poor footwear, or excessive training loads. If the cause is not correctly identified, treatment only provides short term relief. Hence, a thorough biomechanical examination of sufferer’s feet should be undertaken. Learn more about biomechanical foot injuries and why they occur.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

Scans (x-ray, MRI) are not usually required. The key to correct diagnosis lies in a thorough biomechanical assessment.

At Back In Motion, we utilise Gaitscan™ technology to do this. The Gaitscan™ pressure plate (by far the most sensitive of its kind) is able to capture force distribution through your foot as you walk, in great detail. The results are then converted into 2-D and 3-D images. Your physiotherapist can use this information to determine any need for orthotic support (whether that be custom made, or prefabricated orthotics). The Gaitscan™ process takes about 20 minutes.

Further reading: What are flat feet?
Further reading: Gaitscan technology quickly and easier identifies faulty foot function

How do you fix plantar fasciitis?

Depending on the exact biomechnical factors present in your case of plantar fasciitis, treatment could require any of the following:

  • Calf and plantar fascia stretching
  • Self massage of the plantar fascia
  • Ice/anti-inflammatory medication
  • Calf strengthening
  • Orthotic support for your footwear
  • Footwear modification
  • A cortisone injection
  • Surgery to debride (remove scar tissue from) the plantar fascia

Even if there is a heel spur visible on an x-ray, simply cutting it out will not fix the issue with the arch itself, and so generally doesn’t resolve people’s pain. You really do require a thorough physiotherapy assessment to have the right treatment plan put in place. Read more about how physiotherapists at Back In Motion treat plantar fasciitis.

Further reading: Shockwave Therapy at Back In Motion

Need support with plantar fasciitis and other foot pain? Contact you local Back In Motion practice to book your Free Initial Assessment!

Author

Adrian Quinn (B.Physio) - Practice Director at Back In Motion Camberwell