Plantar Fasciosis: Understanding the Pain in Your Feet

Not JUST a sore foot!

Heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints we see as Podiatrists and quite often we are surprised to hear how long people can go on suffering with heel pain before they decide to do anything about it.

Pain is the bodies’ way of telling us there is something wrong and shouldn’t be ignored.

Heel pain is a term used to describe pain that occurs in the heel, underneath the foot, at the back of the foot and sometimes in the arch of the foot. There are many different foot problems that can cause heel pain with one of the most common being plantar fasciosis, more commonly known as plantar fasciitis.

What is it?

The plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running from the heel to the base of the toes, supporting the arch and helping to distribute forces as a person walks and runs. Repeated straining of this fascia can lead to thickening or micro tears causing degeneration of the tissue, known as plantar fasciosis, leading to pain and discomfort felt in the arch and/or heel of the foot.  Plantar fasciosis can be both acute (inflamed and highly painful) or chronic (sore, dull, tissue structure damage).

Who can develop plantar fasciosis?

Plantar fasciosis can happen to anyone! Although plantar fasciosis can develop without an abvious cause, there are some risk factors that may leave a person more susceptible:

  • Age – plantar fasciosis is more common in people between 40-60 years of age.
  • Certain types of exercise – activities that place greater stress on your heel and the attached tissue, such as long distance running, ballet and aerobic exercise, can contribute to the onset.
  • Obesity or sudden weight gain – this is due to the increased pressure on your plantar fascia and the surrounding structures. This condition in common during pregnancy.
  • Occupations requiring long periods of standing – employees that spend most of their work ours walking or standing on hard surfaces, such as factory workers or teachers, can be at increased risk of plantar fasciosis.
  • Foot mechanics – flat feet, a high arch, or even an atypical pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.

What does it feel like?

People with plantar fasciosis might report pain first thing in the morning when getting out of bed, pain after long days on their feet, or pain that gets worse when they get up from sitting down.

The pain can feel like their heel is bruised or like they are walking on a hard stone. Some people describe a feeling of pulling or stretching inside the foot.

What can be done?

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, it is important the issue isn’t ignored. Our podiatrists here at Riverside Podiatry can help to diagnose the condition and differentiate between acute or chronic plantar fasciosis though discussing your medical history, questioning your symptoms and daily activities, as well as assessing your footwear. They will also perform a physical examination of your feet and legs.

The goal of treatment for plantar fasciosis is to reduce pain and discomfort and to improve function. Treatment options may include:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility and support the arch.
  • Advice on properly-fitted shoes with good appropriate support.
  • Arch supports or orthotics to provide correction to the mechanical abnormalities leading to the problem.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation (such as Ibuprofen) as directed by your GP or Podiatrist.
  • Soft tissue therapy to improve mobility and reduce pain.
  • Injections of corticosteroids or other medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Rarely, and only in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the damage to the plantar fascia.

It is important to work closely with a podiatrist to find the right treatment plan for your individual needs. With proper care and treatment, most people are able to recover from plantar fasciosis and return to their normal activities.

If these symptoms are sounding all too familiar, it is best you come in sooner to achieve full resolution. Our podiatrists are available Monday to Saturday, with 3 locations on the Central Coast. Call now on 43239100 or book online.