PLANTAR FASCIITIS: WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY FOOT?
The foot is one of the most complex and strongest structures of the body. It is the basis of all our support and what allows us to move easily….. and it is also one of the areas that can make us suffer the most.
One of the most common problems seen in the foot is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the toes.
Many of the patients we see in our clinic tell us how disabling and frustrating plantar fascia pain can be. We hear stories of patients who have had to give up their favourite activities or how difficult it is to get up in the morning, put your foot down and feel as if you are walking on glass. Not the best way to start the day!
Science is important……
For us as physiotherapists and podiatrists, it is also a challenge to face these kinds of issues, and that is why we are always researching and updating, paying attention to the latest scientific research in this area.
The good news is that thanks to several studies that were done with patients with plantar fascia pain, it seems to be increasingly clear that the best treatment to recover from that pain that does not allow us to move as we would like or does not allow us to exercise, is ….. exercise!
But not just any exercise or in any way. The most recent scientific studies provide us with the first evidence that high-load strength training may be the road towards more effective treatments for plantar fasciitis.
Many times plantar fascia pain is associated with a weakness of the intrinsic muscles of the foot, due to the lack of specific work of these muscles and we know from the literature that high-load strength training appears to be effective in the treatment of weakness. So at the same time as we strengthen our foot muscles, we are strengthening the plantar fascia.
These high-intensity strengthening exercises facilitate recovery, decrease pain, facilitate strengthening and improves function (Rathleff et al, 2014), so activity is great, of course, but… if the level suddenly increases, it can be a real trigger for pain. This is why at Prestons Health we know how to guide and accompany you in the right way, establishing an individualised programme for each situation. Our team of Physiotherapists and Podiatrists work together to help you with the right solution.
Pain is an alarm system: what is contributing to the alarm?
Nor should we forget that we should think of pain as an “alarm system”. The sensitivity of that “alarm system” can be raised by many factors such activity levels, sleep, stress, mood, other medical conditions, inflammatory factors (including the link with obesity), beliefs about your body, previous injuries, previous ways in which you have learnt to deal to behave when you have pain…..the list goes on….
Knowing how to identify the different factors that may be involved in plantar fasciitis, how to modify them and how to start gradually introducing a strengthening programme can be complicated and we often do not know where to start. Don’t worry, our team of Chartered Physiotherapists and Podiatrists are trained medical professionals experienced in diagnosing and treating foot pain and, with us, you are safe in our hands.
Our role is to help you make sense of your foot pain and collaborate with you with a physiotherapy programme to reduce your pain and get back your function. We work closely with local NHS services, GP and Consultants so if, after assessment, we think you need some additional help from our medical colleagues, we can help you navigate where to go next.
What’s new in the market to help me treat my plantar fascia pain?
The plantar pad, available here at Prestons Health, is a simple but effective new device that can help load the plantar fascia specifically with a loading programme. We can help here by helping you devise a specific programme with you to incorporate specific plantar fascia loading.
If you are in pain and its affecting what you do, get in touch to make an appointment. What we are good at is helping you back doing what you love! Call us on 01733-565911 or book via our bookings page here: 👉 Book appointment