All you need to know about Heel pain and Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (or fasciopathy) is a very common problem characterised by heel pain and is due to excessive pressure upon the inner part of the heel where the plantar fascia comes from. It is particularly worse on initial walking after a long period of rest and also after a long period of standing/walking/running. Heel pain due to plantar fasciitis is typically at the region marked red:
Reasons differ for every individual, however most people with this problem have a combination of the following factors which may be contributing to their problem:
- Excessive standing/walking/running
- Inappropriate footwear - usually too firm
- Inappropriate foot mechanics
- Inappropriate hip mechanics
- Inadequate calf strength
- Poor running technique
Reducing the time spent on your feet and wearing shoes with a softer sole are good measures to reduce the pain in the short term. However, muscular and leg biomechanical deficits will need to be addressed in order to promote healthy movement of the leg and reduced pressure upon the heel, given that it is not practical to spend all our time sitting.
For example, hip muscle weakness can result in suboptimal leg alignment during walking, thereby causing the foot to roll inwards excessively and place greater pressure through the inner side of the heel, as shown by the blue arrow:
What can Physiotherapy do?
Physiotherapy is important in relieving heel pain and preventing the re-occurrence of the problem. Initially, physiotherapy measures may include taping of the foot in order to reduce the pressure on the heel during walking, and soft tissue release of muscles such as the calves. Strengthening of weak and relevant calf and hip muscles will also begin early on during your recovery.
What you need to know when recovering?
As the pain settles, it is important to note that the absence of pain does not mean absence of the problem, as the calf and hip muscles will need to continue getting stronger through advanced exercises. Some people may require taping or orthotics in order to aid control of their foot movement.
Why would you need a Running Assessment?
A running assessment may also be helpful, as excessive heel strike during running can also increase pressure on the plantar fascia. Optimising your running technique in combination with a thorough strengthening program will help to prevent future re-occurrence of plantar heel pain.
How can Physiotherapy help you?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our goal is to get you moving pain free as soon as possible.
But, we also want you to actually move better and live a healthier, more active and fulfilling life!
If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert physiotherapists so we can help you reduce your pain and bullet proof your body so that you can keep playing, training and working forever.
If you are showing some signs of injury or simply want help staying injury-free then book in with one of our highly experienced Physiotherapists today!