Heel pain under the foot is often associated with the Plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick flat band of connective tissue that originates from the heel bone (calcaneus) and runs along the sole of the foot. It keeps the bones and joints in position and enables us to transfer the muscle forces of the calf to the foot as we push off the ground in everyday activities such as walking, running and jumping.
Plantar fasciopathy affects 10% of the general population and is more common in people aged 40-60 years and people who spend a lot of time on their feet. The causes of this pain can be due to a number of factors including sudden change in activity, standing posture, walking habits, inappropriate footwear and poor training habits. These factors can lead to an overload on the tissues, causing the insertion of the plantar fascia to thicken and swell and become painful and irritated. The fascia is then unable to withstand as much load as normal, further exacerbating the condition.
Typical symptoms are a sharp or bruise type pain on the first few steps after getting out of bed or after prolonged sitting, that tends to ease with activity. In severe cases, pain can be debilitating and persist throughout the day.
Like all conditions, management of plantar fasciopathy is based on a thorough assessment to confirm the diagnosis, rule out other possible conditions and then address the underlying causes. Treatment may include:
- Specific advice and guidelines on activity and training modifications.
- Techniques to decrease pain and inflammation
- Exercises to balance muscle forces around the ankle, foot and leg as a whole.
- Taping - kinesio or traditional.
- Custom or temporary foot orthotics.
- Graded return to sport/activity to ensure the plantar fascia is not overloaded.
So to get you moving pain free again and guide you through the right steps, give us a call and make an appointment.