Do you hobble those first few steps in the morning and feel about 10 years older than you are? We have all been there and the good news is it is NOT something that you need to live with!
With our feet carrying approximately three times our body weight with each step and overloading with our busy schedules adds significantly increased weight to our heels which can exacerbate and/or cause heel pain.
For many of our clients, we have noticed that COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of looking after your feet. We have seen an increase in numbers of those who are experiencing heel pain due to exercising more and from medical staff and other essential workers who are spending a lot of time on their feet.
So! What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain occur when the ligament that runs along the base of the foot (the plantar fascia ligament) becomes inflamed or irritated due to overload.
This strong and fibrous ligament connects the base of the heel bone to the base of the toes and functions to support the arch of the foot and assists with heel-to-toe propulsion during walking and running.
With repetitive stress and strain, micro-tearing occurs, leading to inflammation and tendon thickening causing heel/arch pain! (Yes, I'm looking at all of you who were trying to suddenly become super fit during isolation!)
Due to the location of the micro-tears, everyday activities such as walking and standing interferes with the rest needed for normal healing, which is why running or long shift work can be rather taxing!
Sharp pain directly under the heel! Especially with the first few steps in the morning or after sitting for a while.
Tenderness to the touch, usually right on the heel and sometimes in the arch of the foot.
An increase in activity or training - too much or too quickly!
Standing for prolonged periods on concrete or hard surfaces
Faulty foot mechanics like over-pronation (flat feet)
Tight calf muscles
Overweight and/or increased weight
Improper footwear- you need good shoes not just for exercise, but for work too! (Don't worry we have lots of stylish recommendations..)
Challenging running or walking conditions, such as steep hills and uneven terrain
So, what can your Podiatrist do for you?
Early diagnosis and intervention is important, the longer this condition is left, the more difficult it can be to manage. A Podiatrist can identify causative factors and put in place an appropriate management plan in place to get you back on your feet pain-free.
The following therapies listed are often combined to manage pain and promote healing;
Western Medical Accupuncture/Dry Needling
Massage (especially for those tight calves)
Heel lock taping techniques
Mobilisation to release restrictions and adhesions at various joints in the foot and ankle
Custom orthotic therapy to redirect the forces through the foot, reduce tissue stress and promote healing
Night splints to stretch the calves
Footwear- finding the right shoe for you, whether it be making sure there is control and arch support or stability and shock absorption
Customised exercise and strength plans to ease back in the physical activity and juggle work’s physical requirements