Plantar Fasciitis

29 May 2019

Plantar Fasciitis Most people have heard of Plantar Fasciitis but what actually is it? What are its causes? and what can solve it?
The Plantar Fascia is actually a thick connective tissue under the foot that runs from the base of the heel to the toes, helping to support the arch of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is a condition that produces pain (sometimes severe and debilitating) under the heel and arch of the foot. It is usually worse on walking or putting weight through the foot and can occur in anyone at any time although it is slightly more common in women and most common between 40-60 years of age. It is believed to be caused by repeated micro trauma actually creating tears in the Plantar Fascia. Doctors used to believe that little bony growths called Heel Spurs could have been the culprits but we now know that these Spurs, when they occur, are usually as a result and caused BY the Plantar Fasciitis where the fascia repeatedly pulls on the heel bone. This condition can occur at any time but some known risk factors are weight gain, increase in unaccustomed activity such as jogging or other impact sports. We know that perhaps the most major influencing factor is poor foot biomechanics... That is to say, the way the foot functions when walking/running. If your feet have very flat arches or over pronate (roll inwards) when you walk, you are very likely to create the damage that leads to the heel and arch pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis. So now we have some idea what the condition is and what causes it, one would think that solving it should be simple... Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Some people who suffer with this condition are extremely lucky and their symptoms are resolved with small modifications to lifestyle or footwear and a few simple stretches. In our experience in practice, the majority of Plantar Fasciitis sufferers are not that lucky. This condition frequently requires a multi-pronged approach and that is exactly what we offer at Backinhealth. Initially we want to control and calm the foot pain down with some gentle hands on osteopathic treatment. If we were to simply prescribe orthotic insoles at this stage, we risk irritating the already 'unhappy' tissues and further aggravating the condition. Once there is some improvement in symptoms, usually within a couple of sessions, we can look at trying to correct the poor foot biomechanics with custom made orthotic insoles. This, in combination with some specific stretches and strengthening exercises, often resolves the symptoms of the Plantar Fasciitis and most importantly PREVENTS the condition returning. It has to be said that there are many other treatments available which have been shown to be effective at treating this condition, including (amongst others) Steroid injections and 'Shockwave therapy'. The steroids can produce quick results but there is some medical evidence to show that this is NOT a good long-term solution. The Shockwave therapy is still fairly new but early results look encouraging and it is something we may look at offering in our clinic at some point in the future. If you think you may be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and want to book an appointment please call us on 0208 203 8977

Tags: heel pain, Backinhealth, orthotics, Plantar Fasciitis

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