It’s lovely to welcome back Andrew Gladstone to give us his view on this very common condition.
“Plantar Fasciitis, or PF for short, is one of the most common foot pain issues I see in my clinic. Often patients have had the problem for a long time and see me when it’s at its worse! It would be great to change that.
The most common symptom is a sharp pain around the heel area, about a quarter of the way up the foot on the sole. Sometimes it’s only in one foot and very occasionally, and unluckily, in both feet.
Often the pain is at its most severe as soon as you walk first thing in the morning or after a period of sitting down. Once you have walked on it for a few steps the pain can quickly subside only to reappear again after another period of inactivity.
Plantar Fasciitis seems to be caused by the over stretching of a ligament attachment around the heel bone, usually caused by a single activity which could be an unusual amount of walking; an injury; walking on uneven surfaces; badly fitting or the wrong shoes; being overweight and generally overdoing it…
The list can go on and on!
Once the injury has occurred it can take a few days for it to become apparent which makes it difficult to even work out what caused it!! The fact that it usually only really hurts first thing in the morning means that it goes untreated for months.
There is no single treatment that fixes PF quickly and sometimes it’s a number of things that can stop it hurting. I usually initially suggest resting the area as much as possible and making sure that any footwear is supportive and cushioning, especially around the arch area of the foot. Avoid any major exercise and try to not walk barefoot at all for a while.
The next thing I advise patients to do is lots of calf stretching – using the stairs is a good place to do it. Put your painful foot on the stairs and raise your body up as high as you can go, then lower yourself past the level of the stairs so you really feel the pull on the calf.
Another good technique is to release the tension on the ligament under the foot using a ball or even a cold bottle of wine!! Roll the ball or bottle up and down the foot pressing hard on the painful area. It may hurt while you’re doing it but it will feel fine afterwards!! Start gently and build up.
Here is a link to some videos showing the stretching techniques.
If all of the above fails come and see a podiatrist such as us, who can assess your problem and suggest perhaps insoles or some further physical therapies such as shockwave therapy, insoles, strapping or even steroid injections.”
This is something I suffered from myself and I have found that for many of my walking women, not treating it and sometimes not even realising that it is an issue has led to it become very painful and slowing them down considerably on longer walks.
You can check Andrew out and book a treatment here if you are local to his clinics. Otherwise check out Podiatry and Chiropody Services near you if you think this approach is what you need.