That feeling when you take those first few steps in the morning. You feel a burning, stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot. Does this sound familiar to you? You are probably asking yourself, “What can I do to make this pain go away”? The answer is not that simple unfortunately.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Its job is to support the arch of your foot while you walk. The plantar fascia also supports and absorbs weight, especially when running and therefore is prone to injury. Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition seen in people who complain of heel pain by Physiotherapists. It is generally caused by small tears or overstretching of the plantar fascia resulting in inflammation.
So what should I be doing to fix my Plantar Faciitis?
Your Physiotherapist will most likely give you exercises for your calf muscles in addition to some toe stretches.
Here are some short term options to reduce pain:
– Foot taping and/or higher cushioned shoes or orthotics (worn inside your shoes) in order to provide arch support.
– Massage and self release the plantar fascia (e.g. rolling a tennis ball or iced water bottle under your foot), calf and hamstring muscles
– Reduced load on the plantar fascia by reducing time on your feet (e.g. reducing your running distance or training intensity).
Here are some longer term fixes to prevent it from coming back:
– Foot, ankle and calf strengthening exercises with your Physiotherapist
– Hamstring and Gluteal strengthening with your Physiotherapist
– Assess your foot and ankle biomechanics (e.g. running assessment)
You can expect to be doing these exercises for a minimum of a few weeks. However, it could take several months or even a year to fully resolve. Let pain be your guide, generally 3-4/10 pain during or after exercise is normal. If it exceeds that then you are probably doing too much. Your Physiotherapist may also recommend a cortisone injection or if symptoms persist for over a year, surgery may be an option.
Can I prevent getting Plantar Faciitis?
It is possible! As long as you continue stretching and strengthening exercises (especially in the morning) or using orthotics if they worked for you.
Get to your Physiotherapist early! Delayed healing and further damage are associated with longer a rehab period. We can help address your early symptoms as well as identifying the underlying cause of your heel pain.
If you are experiencing heel/foot pain I would love to chat with you personally. Just enter your details in the fields below & I’ll be more than happy to discuss with you further how we can help find the best management for you.
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(Please keep in mind, these are general guidelines for the majority of our patients but it is important to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist first and make sure you have a plan tailored specifically for you).