Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Sydney
Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is a condition caused by strain or irritation to the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue (similar to a ligament) that runs from the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia helps form the arch of your foot, and acts as a shock absorber.
When put under excessive strain, the plantar fascia can become irritated and inflamed causing heel pain.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
There are several causes of plantar fasciitis including:
Poor foot biomechanics, like those people with very flat feet or very high arches.
Ill-fitting shoes that offer poor arch support can also put strain on the feet causing inflammation of the plantar fascia. If unsupportive footwear is worn for long periods of time, i.e people who work on their feet for long hours, there is a higher chance of developing plantar fasciitis.
High impact sports like running
Starting a new physical activity or increasing the intensity of an activity
Sudden weight gain or obesity
Age - people over 45 are more prone
Tightness in the Achilles tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is most commonly experienced when taking your first steps after waking up. The heel pain is more intense at this time because during rest the plantar fascia tightens and shortens. So when you start putting pressure on it, you get a sharp pain. Most patients might even hobble for their first few steps because the pain is so intense. The pain subsides as you start to move around and the plantar fascia starts to loosen.
You may also experience pain after long periods of standing or walking. This is because excessive pressure on the area can accumulate and cause it to become irritated leading to the same heel pain.
The pain feels like a sharp stabbing sensation on the bottom of the foot near your heel, either on the sides or the centre of the heel.
How Can A Podiatrist Help?
If you are experiencing heel pain, the first step to heel pain treatment is finding what's causing it. The good news in most cases of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis can heal naturally with the correct treatments.
At North Sydney Podiatry, we start with reviewing your medical history and assessing your feet and legs, and current footwear to determine what is causing the heel pain. Heel pain isn't always caused by plantar fasciitis so we will assess for other causes including fractures, Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, heel bruising and nerve irritation.
A biomechanical assessment is a good tool for determining if the heel pain is resulting from poor foot mechanics. This lets us look at your foot function, how you walk and run, and then provide feedback on how we can fix your unique foot issue.
Correcting issues such as flat feet or over-pronation can be achieved via custom orthotics alongside supportive shoes. Orthotics sit inside the shoe and will help to release the tension on your plantar fascia providing pain relief.
We will also provide advice on supportive footwear, including support shoes and running shoe recommendations based on your unique foot type and body weight. Ensuring your plantar fascia is supported correctly is crucial to natural healing.
Physical therapy such as exercises aimed at stretching the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Rest and reduced walking are also another treatment, especially for those who do high impact or prolonged physical activity.
To temporarily reduce pain, we recommend using an ice pack on the area, but this is not a long term solution. If it's determined that plantar fasciitis isn't the cause of your heel pain, we will suggest an x-ray or MRI scan to check for a stress fracture or pinched nerve.
What to Bring to My Appointment
Please bring the following information to your appointment:
Current footwear including sports shoes & everyday shoes
Shorts so you can comfortably do the assessments
Don’t Ignore Your Heel Pain
It's important not to ignore your symptoms. Plantar fasciitis is often caused by an issue with your foot mechanics. Poor foot mechanics when left untreated can also lead to other problems such as ingrown toenails and other foot and ankle conditions.
Our clinic's aim is to provide immediate pain relief from your heel pain and promote complete healing. With over 35 years specialising in treating heel pain, we will determine the source of your heel pain and provide a treatment plan that works for you.
Everybody is different, some patients might have a tear in their plantar fascia while others have inflammation, so tailored treatments are essential.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Plantar Fasciitis Go Away?
Pain can be reduced with rest, but often plantar fasciitis is a symptom of a deeper problem. Usually, orthotics will be needed to correct foot problems as well as supportive shoes. However, every patient is different, i.e some patients may not need orthotics. We always provide a tailored treatment plan.
Does Plantar Fasciitis Hurt While Sleeping?
Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is normally felt most in the first steps after waking up or after sitting for long periods when there is sudden pressure on the plantar fascia. When resting there is no pressure on the plantar fascia, so you rarely have heel pain while resting or sleeping.
Is Plantar Fasciitis Common in Children?
Plantar fasciitis can occur in people of all ages but is more common in people over 45. A common cause of heel pain in children is Sever's Disease, which is the swelling and irritation of the growth plate in the heel.
Are All Stretches Helpful?
Not all stretches will treat plantar fasciitis, in fact, some can do more damage. Repeated overstretching or overuse can actually cause inflammation.
Are Heel Spurs Related to Plantar Fasciitis?
In some patients suffering from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs can also be found. If these are present, the condition is usually diagnosed as plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome.