What is plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue on the bottom of your foot, that goes from your heel bone, to your toes. The plantar fascia deals with shock absorption through the foot, as well as providing support for the arches of the feet.
What’s happening when it hurts?
The majority of irritation of the plantar fascia occurs as a result of microtears within the fascia, usually within the middle of the fascia, or at the insertion at the bottom of the heel. Continued microtrauma can result in chronic degeneration of the fibres of the fascia, leading to pain and restriction, in both shock absorption and mobility. Plantar fascia can also have an inflammatory component, meaning that there is active inflammation within the fascia, leading to an increase in degeneration of the tissue.
Why does it happen?
For most individuals, it is an overuse injury that is primarily due to repetitive strain within the tissue, leading to micro-tears, however, it can also be as a result of trauma.
Risk factors which can lead to a greater incidence of a dysfunctional plantar fascia include:
Loss of ankle mobility
Impact activities, such as running/jumping/skipping
Overpronation (falling arches both, statically and dynamically)
Poor management when symptoms first appear
How long will it last?
After beginning treatment, the pain should start to diminish within a few weeks, but it is important to understand that due to the nature and pathology of this condition, it may take several months to a year, for full resolution.
Although this seems like a long time, please don't be discouraged, the above timeframe includes both a gradual return to activity, and strengthening to prevent this from reoccurring.
Treatment is one facet of our approach to addressing plantar fasciitis, with at home management (e.g. stretching etc), ergonomic changes (e.g. wearing supportive footwear) and management of aggravating factors (e.g. certain activities, shoes) playing an important role in recovery (see below for more details).
Please note that some individuals may find that it takes longer to return to activity if the condition is exposed to continual reaggravation (e.g. continuing aggravating activity, not wearing supportive shoes, not doing exercises). Acute (recent) and chronic (long term) conditions may also change the expected healing time frame.
How to fix it?
When you go and see your local therapist, they are likely to perform a thorough assessment of your foot, leg and lower back, to identify the cause of your pain, as well as find out if any environmental factors are contributing to your discomfort.
In addition to treatment, we may ask you to do some exercises the help reduce your symptoms, these commonly include:
Plantar fascia - help release tension through out the plantar fascia fibres
Calves - as the calf muscles attach the back of the foot, pull throughout this muscle can increase the strain placed on the plantar fascia
Intrinsic muscles of the foot - to help support the arches and reduce the strain through the plantar fascia.
Calf - to help stabalise the lower leg/ ankle
Other management strategies' may include, altering activity, altering work duties, wearing supportive footwear, medication (or supplements) to decrease inflammation and decreasing exposure to aggravating factors.
If you would like more information or to book an appointment with one of our practitioners please feel free to contact us. We have online booking avaliable for your convience.
Retrain Health is based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. From our Byron Bay and Ballina clinics, our team provides a range of quality healthcare services and products.
Retrain Health offers osteopathy, remedial massage and strength and conditioning, and PT sessions with qualified practitioners.
If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an appointment, please contact the clinic by phone (02) 6680 7447, send us an email or click here to book an appointment online.