What is it?
Plantar Heel pain is the most common injury that Podiatrists treat. Contrary to the common belief that the pain is a Heel Spur, it is more often than not discomfort/irritation of the Plantar Fascia. The Plantar Fascia is a band/fascia of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. This fascia is the main supportive structure through your arch and takes the majority of the load whilst you are walking. It becomes irritated when the cumulative load of the plantar fascia exceeds what the tissue can take.
Where did I get it?
Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by many factors & is most commonly seen in the active middle aged population (women > men). Most patients with Heel pain can often relate too many of the following signs, symptoms & risk factors:
- Pain when rising * Prolonged standing especially on hard surfaces
- Incorrect Footwear * Sudden increase in weight
- Tight calf muscles * Sudden change or increase in activity
- Flat and high arched feet
How is it diagnosed?
A thorough Clinical examination will most commonly diagnose Plantar Fasciitis. Depending on severity of symptoms, you may/may not be referred for an ultrasound. If a heel spur is present it will rarely change the treatment protocol’s as approximately 70% of the population live with undiagnosed spurs which are pain free.
The aim of treatment is to initially reduce to load on the plantar fascia to allow recovery/pain reduction. Once this is achieved we work on increasing the plantar fascia’s capacity to handle the demands placed upon it by our daily activities. It is important to remember that there is a difference between being pain free and rehabilitated – damaged tissue on average takes 6 weeks to repair.