Do you suffer from sore feet? Long days got your feet feeling like you’re walking on hot coals? Been back from your European holiday for a number of weeks and still have ‘holiday feet’? It sounds like you need a trip to the Podiatrist so you can be accurately diagnosed and treated! Because you could be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The Plantar Fasciia is a tough piece of connective tissue that lives in the bottom of your foot. It connects the calcaneus (heel bone) to the metatarsals (ball of the foot) and the tip of your toes. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of that connective tissue.
Why does it get inflamed?
Before we answer that, let us establish what the purpose of this piece of connective tissue is.
The plantar fascia (along with other structures) is responsible for your foots arch, which then gives your feet the structural support we need to walk- And we do do A LOT of walking…
At 7’500 steps a day, we will each walk 216’262’500 steps, which equals around 177’000 kilometers, in an 80-year life time!
That does not include sports, holidays or any other time that we do more walking than normal.
Now if our feet (and bodies) are not working properly or with correct biomechanical alignment, you can imagine how that 177,000 kilometers is going to affect our joints, muscles and plantar fascia.
“Plantar fasciitis is the most common foot condition, accounting for up to 15% of
foot complaints that require health professional intervention, not including those who don’t seek help!”
WHY DO MY FEET HURT?
This is where it gets dicey. In most cases Plantar Fasciitis doesn’t have one single causative factor, its multifactorial. As with most injuries to the human body, plantar fasciitis is caused by overusing or overloading the connective tissue. There are a number of factors that we know influence the straining of the fascia which include, but are not limited to;
• Weight gain
• Physical activity
• Prolonged periods of standing or sitting
• Poor biomechanics
Of these, poor biomechanics (the study of structure and function of the body) is a particular area of influence on the plantar fascia. Chronically pronated or “flat feet” are a common denominator amongst this demographic. I say chronically because pronation (the flattening of the arch) is a normal and necessary foot function, but when there is an inability to create an arch again the plantar fascia is put under huge tensile (pulling) forces and liable to microtearing and rupture.
Poor biomechanics can be complicated by the effect of footwear. Flimsy shoes (such as ballet flats or flip flops) and even expensive running shoes may not be suited for your feet. Now, if you add the factor of load (weight gain or increased activity) you get, what I call, the “Trifecta of Foot Pain”.
HOW DO YOU CURE IT?
The chances are you have read this far into this blog because you currently have plantar fasciitis, or have suffered with it in the past. You would have discovered there are many different modalities to treat so lets briefly talk about a few of them.
- Night splints have been around for two decades for the management of plantar fasciitis. They work on the premise that the problem lies with the plantar fascia being short, and that stretching the structure will minimise its chance of tearing when loaded. If your issue is indeed a short plantar fascia you may feel some relief with these splints, but unfortunately they may be short lived as the newly stretched ligament can create feet that are unable to support themselves during loading.
- Cryo/Thermotherapy is used for the symptomatic relief of inflamed soft tissue. Cryo (cold) therapy works around the concept of reducing swelling, and Thermo (heat) therapy tries to encourage blood flow, and both have pro’s and con’s. Its important to know that whatever side of the temperature-therapy-spectrum you choose to identify with, both do little to prevent plantar fasciitis from reoccurring long-term.
- Massage needs no description, sore feet? Massage them! You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t felt immediate relief after a massage. But when combined with
cryotherapy (iced bottle rolling) the immediate effects may be even greater. But again, you are more likely to find yourself on the ‘my-feet-are-still-sore’ side of the fence.
- Orthotic therapy is often implemented when there are biomechanics or structural abnormalities that are inhibiting (not allowing) proper function of the foot and resulting in abnormal loads.
- Surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis vary amongst surgeons, and the techniques they use. For this reason I wont talk about any particular procedure, but rather identify that there is
typically a significant financial impact (due to periods of non-weight bearing and depending on your job, inability to work), the risk of infection and the risk of reduction of arch integrity
by 25%. In saying this, if your in the 10% of the population who does not respond to conservative treatments, surgery is a viable option.
At Podiatry First, we specialise in the treatment of soft tissue injuries.We are experts in the use of Shockwave Therapy.
What is Shockwave Therapy and more importantly, HOW does it help YOUR Plantar
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (EST) is a highly researched and evidence backed therapy for the treatment of soft tissue and bony injuries. During the treatment, an applicator is applied to the painful area and an acoustic wave carries energy into the affected tissues. This energy interacts with the tissue causing accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, localised analgesia (pain relief), and mobility restoration; all things that need to be addressed in Plantar Fasciitis!
Your podiatrist should be able to inform you about all the different treatment
options for plantar fasciitis, and you should not feel pressured into any treatments
you don’t fully understand.
So, if you or someone you know is living with foot pain, come drop into Podiatry First. We will identify the root cause of your issue and take you through all treatment options. Working together we will create and implement the most appropriate treatment plan for you specifically.
Lets heal that heel and take a hop, skip and jump in the right direction. We will get you pain free!
CLICK HERE to make an appointment with one of our health professionals today!
Thank you for reading!
Leave a reply