Plantar Fasciitis (Plantar Fasciopathy)
Updated: Mar 6
What is it?
The Plantar fascia is a strong connective tissue under the arch of the foot that helps with the push-off phase of walking by storing elastic energy and helping with shock absorption. When incorrect biomechanics (e.g. flat foot/knocked knees) or an overload of physical stresses are applied to this structure, the strain on the arch leads to irritation at the attachment. This attachment is the heel (calcaneal) bone. This aggravation is called plantar fasciitis. Most recently, Plantar fasciitis is known as Plantar Fasciopathy, due to research finding lack of inflammation to the tissue itself but finding histological changes such as fibrosis and collagen disruption.
· Weakness of the arch,
· Overstretching of the arch
· Traumatic in origin, such as direct force landing on the heel (calcaneal) bone.
· Risk factors include being involved in sports with high stress to the area (e.g. running), obese or overweight, and pregnancy (due to weight gain and ankle swelling).
· Other factors include excessive pronation (foot rolling inwards), joint stiffness, flat feet, decreased range of motion at the ankle joint, extended periods of weight bearing, poor quality footwear, a sudden increase in training regime and diabetes.
You may find pain beneath the heel or in the arch upon rising in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Symptoms generally improve as you move or warm up.
Most people describe Plantar fasciopathy as a ‘Stone bruise’ like pain.
Ultrasound or MRI can diagnose it ideally. An x-ray is only beneficial if you would like to exclude a heel spur (formation of calcium build up).
How long does it take to get better?
Conservative treatment such as Physiotherapy or Podiatry, are very effective in treating Plantar Fasciopathy (70-90% success rate). Your symptoms may dissapate in as little as eight weeks.
How can Physiotherapy help you?
· Setting you up with a self management plan.
· Stretching and strengthening exercises,
· Ultrasound therapy
· Icing tips,
· Soft tissue therapy,
· Correction of biomechanical imbalances and other contributing factors (e.g. sleeping position of the ankle).
Don't let pain burden you, come in and see us at Sprains, Strains and Chronic Pains (SSCP) to let us help you. Call us on 0405 191 684.